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Q: Did you know that there is a World Map of Happiness? A: So what? [blog]

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Five years ago, a University of Leicester social psychologist Adrian White prepared the first ever ‘world map of happiness.’ The occasion was the 2007 Happiness Conference. He analyzed data published by UNESCO, the CIA, the World Health Organization, UNHCR, and several other sources, using data related to health, wealth and education.

Aren't they happy?

Photo credit: Kristina Valentova

Adrian White said: “The concept of happiness, or satisfaction with life, is currently a major area of research in economics and psychology, most closely associated with new developments in positive psychology. It has also become a feature in the current political discourse in the UK. There is increasing political interest in using measures of happiness as a national indicator in conjunction with measures of wealth. It is also notable that many of the largest countries in terms of population do quite badly. With China 82nd, India 125th and Russia 167th it is interesting to note that larger populations are not associated with happy countries.”

First three most happy countries by this map are Denmark, Switzerland, and Austria – and in this order. Curiously enough, there were eight countries/territories where data was not collected: North Korea, W. Sahara, Liberia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Greenland and Serbia! Was that because the Serbian citizens are not so happy, or because a survey on a tough situation in a country in transition in Southeastern Europe would be considered a security risk for researchers? Whatever the reason, my country is not gauged on happiness. But, except amused by this fact, I am not shortened of any knowledge.

I listened recently Edmund Spieker at member care media on the issue of safety in the midst of chaos. Interestingly, Edmund was not speaking about our satisfaction with life, delight with our large population/country or health, wealth or education – but the Bible and his family. Jesus said ‘in me you have peace!’ Edmund shared: “Real and permanent peace and happiness are found in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus alone…”

This is why it is good to use search engines on internet and try to find more resources on the topic of your interest, as I did today. UNESCO and other sources on this map on happiness are notable, specialist and expensive organizations, still much research and knowledge (not to mention wisdom), is also available elsewhere. MemberCareMedia has several hundreds of quality programs dealing with life issues. My search on happiness revealed five to listen today. Happiness is a complicated issue permeating various aspects of our lives, not only the aforementioned three.

How do you define happiness?


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