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San Diego International Meetup Message Board › Get happy in the world's happiest countries

Get happy in the world's happiest countries

Wilfredo P.
user 11974495
Chula Vista, CA
Post #: 246

Very interesting article. I'm sure no one would be surprised to find out that the U.S. is not on the list of the world's happiest countries.

This list is dominated by the Scandinavian/Western European countries, with Canada and Australia in the mix. Though it's not mentioned in the article, the happiest countries have certain obvious things in common: they are mostly secular (Denmark and Sweden are virtually atheistic, in fact), they have a highly educated population (partly because higher education is highly subsidized by the government), they emphasize reason and science in their educational systems, they have a very high standard of living, and not coincidentally, they have some form of nationalized health care. American conservatives would call these countries "socialist." Yes, they pay higher taxes, but they are glad to do so for a higher standard of living and health care for all. The citizens of these countries have a different mentality than Americans. Their societies are far more communal and far less religious than the U.S.

From my world travels, I have observed that some of the biggest smiles come from the poorest people. Many of the poor people I have met in dirt-poor countries like Haiti and the Philippines are happier than most middle class and affluent Americans. I believe that many Americans lead isolated lives (which is easy to do here, especially in the suburbs) and that this leads to unhappiness and depression. Our guide in India really struck a nerve with our group when he said, "I bet few of you have been in the homes of your next-door neighbors." Actually, in our group of over 30, none of us had. I think this is indicative of something that is fundamentally different (and many would argue wrong) about the American culture. Not knowing your neighbors is routine here, but that would be unheard of in India and most other countries.

Why do you think the U.S. is not on the list of happiest countries? Are we too individualistic and do we focus too much on material things and wealth versus human relationships?­
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