If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. If you’re happy and you know it, stomp your feet. If you’re happy and you know it, and you really want to show it….
Apparently us Canadians can legitimately sing the above song with gusto as the United Nations released its annual World Happiness Report and we came in a solid No. 6 with a score of 7.404.
Now, actually that’s down slightly from the previous year when we came in at No. 5 and a score of 7.427, so we have some work to do, but still a solid Top 10 finish once again.
Of course with something as subjective as overall happiness it’s difficult to know what we have to work on, after all how can one judge a collection of people’s happiness let alone a single person’s happiness?
The old adage about until you live in someone else’s shoes is very true as we don’t know what’s going on under the surface in our fellow human being’s heads without a lot of empathy, communication and understanding…..and it’s still a crapshoot most days.
However, try we must, and there’s something about the mysteries of life remaining intact and therefore wonderful in their own right, despite social media’s attempts to put everything out there and damn the consequences, and there are plenty.
Still, likely it’s a worthwhile exercise by the UN and helps paint a picture of our respective lives and compares them giving us some insight to what may work and what may not work in our daily lives.
So, here’s how they did it. According to a story in The Province, the study asked 3,000 people from each country to rate their lives on a scale of 10 based on the following categories: gross domestic product per capita, life expectancy, social support, freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption and generosity.
In other words: wealth, longevity, healthcare, freedom of speech and a stable government count for a lot and are all fairly measurable entities.
All stuff that Canada is decent at.
Thus the top 10 goes something like this:
1. Denmark – 7.526
2. Switzerland – 7.509
3. Iceland – 7.501
4. Norway – 7.498
5. Finland – 7.413
6. Canada – 7.404
7. Netherlands – 7.339
8. New Zealand – 7.334
9. Australia – 7.313
10 Sweden – 7.291
The good news is we beat the Swedes, who according to Participaction, was always way ahead of us in the fitness category, so there.
The report says the top 10 had a commonality in that they are all “small or medium-sized western industrial countries.”
The Scandinavian countries come out on top almost as a group, and things like healthcare and social assistance, relative wealth, and I guess a willingness to share with others, whether it’s through taxes or other means, come to mind.
There’s also a strong contingent of hockey-playing countries too, ahem.
But unlike hockey, this isn’t a sport that if we just train harder and throw more money at it, we’ll necessarily get better at being happier.
However it is an indication that as a nation we’re on the right track when it comes to more than a few things.
Certainly we have our challenges, and they are echoed loudly in the media day after day after day, but it’s more likely that the sky isn’t falling than it is and we have plenty to be grateful for.
And, in my book, anyway, gratitude is a key to happiness and something that’s not practised near enough in these days of trying to obtain the next great thing, as we toss last month’s next great thing.
Here’s to being No. 6, and with a little luck, and gratitude, and maybe even singing, we’ll get back to No. 5 again next year.