According to the 2019 World Happiness Report
8. New Zealand
The USA ranks 19th, down 5 spots since 2017, a significant drop in just two years.
Research shows that too little leisure time leads to people feeling stressed. And there’s such a thing as too much leisure time, which tends to make people feel overly idle.
A research paper released late last year investigated this trade-off, attempting to pinpoint how much leisure time is best. Its authors examined the relationship between the amount of “discretionary time” people had—basically, how much time people spend awake and doing what they want—and how pleased they were with their lives. (Some examples of “discretionary” activities were watching TV, socializing, going to the movies, spending time with family, and doing nothing.)
The paper, which analyzed data covering about 35,000 Americans, found that employed people’s ratings of their satisfaction with life peaked when they had in the neighborhood of two and a half hours of free time a day. For people who didn’t work, the optimal amount was four hours and 45 minutes.
More at The Atlantic
What’s wrong with that picture?
Happiness does not follow prosperity. Otherwise kazillionaires would not be drinking and self-medicating themselves to death. Or jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.
In America (and also in other countries), an impressive postwar rise in material well-being has had zero effect on personal well-being. The divergence between economic growth and subjective satisfaction began decades ago. Real per capita income has more than tripled since the late 1950s, but the percentage of people saying they are very happy has, if anything, slightly declined.
Ordinary people’s well-being depends mainly on their immediate surroundings. If you are an autoworker who loses your job in Massena, N.Y., when G.M. closes its local plant (moving some jobs to Mexico) and who spends years out of work and who watches as schools shut down and shops go dark and young people flee — for you, the fact that America’s big coastal cities are doing great, or that more than half a billion Chinese have been lifted out of extreme poverty, merely rubs salt in your wounds.
Second, all happiness is relative. Although moral philosophers may wish Homo sapiens were wired more rationally, we humans are walking, talking status meters, constantly judging our worth and social standing by comparing ourselves with others today and with our own prior selves.
Read More at the NY Times (paywall)
Only 33% of Americans report they were happy. And new research is reaffirming the reasons that have been known for some time: We are focusing too much on trying to be happy.
The research, published in the journal Emotion, found that overemphasizing happiness can make people more likely to obsess over failure and negative emotions when they inevitably do happen, bringing them more stress in the long run.
According to the 2018 World Happiness Report, Finland came out on top, but the Finnish people don’t necessarily agree. I think they just don’t know it.
According to the 2018 World Happiness Report, based on research conducted by Gallup, Finland is the happiest country in the world. The Finns are not so sure about the result, though – being, as they are, a typically stoic sort of people.
“Nordic people, and the Finns in particular, are emotionally introverted,” explained Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, an independent think tank in Denmark that studies happiness and wellbeing. “They rarely rank highly on expressions of joy or anger – they are very different in that way from people from Latin America, for example, who have a more exuberant emotional expression as a people. For [the Finns], happiness is more about living a reserved, balanced and resilient life.”
Tervamäki agrees, saying, “I have very contradictory feelings about the happiness survey. Finnish people read it and laugh, like ‘What? Us?’. What comes to my mind is that Finnish people are content more than happy.”
Read more at the BBC
Tourism’s carbon impact three times larger than estimated – BBC
Mom’s prefer experiences over gifts on Mother’s Day – Globe and Mail
Vanilla ice cream is under threat. A huge spike in pure vanilla extract prices is making some bakeries and ice cream makers think twice about whether to keep making it. We might be stuck with chocolate to help cool down – CBC
South Korea is cracking down on texting while walking with an app that locks devices after detecting users have been walking for more than five steps while using their phones. – Yonhap News Agency
On Wednesday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a thinly veiled rebut to the U.S. President’s backing out of the Iran nuclear weapons deal and stressed Canada remains aligned with most countries in supporting the deal – Globe and Mail This was a rare and complex deal that involved many countries. Not unlike what we are going through with North Korea, the issues on the table are pretty complex. Lets hope the rest of the world can take the lead where the US breaks promises and signed agreements, because the U.S. President is dropping the ball with his America First/America Alone policy and the world is a more dangerous place because of it.
Dr. Dre lost a trademark court battle with a gynecologist. The raper argued that Dr. Drai, the real doctor, would cause confusion among fans. – Chicago Tribune
1994: Nelson Mandela was sworn into office as the first democratically elected president of South Africa. This was a day to celebrate a historic victory over a racist regime. “Let freedom reign,” Mandela said in his inauguration speech.
Kris Tompkins and Tom Butler, Washington Post:
“Sustainability” may be a worthy goal, but the word has become cliché, now typically deployed in its adverbial form to modify various nature-exploiting activities like “logging” and “fishing” or the catch-all “development.”
So let’s quit talking about “sustainable” this or that and face the overarching question about the future: Can we create a durable civilization in which humans become good neighbors in the community of life? Where our society is embedded in a matrix of wild nature that allows all creatures — from microorganisms to blue whales — freedom to pursue happiness and raise their progeny in a secure habitat?
Susan Kamenar, writing in National Geographic:
There is no magical formula for hygge, it is more about the quality of time spent than where or how you spend it, so wherever you are, slow down, get cozy, and savor the moment with close family and friends.