Happiness Index

Social Progress a New Standard of National Wealth

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is encouraging countries to join in a “great revolution” in the way growth is tracked. Two Nobel economists recently completed a report recommending a shift from measuring progress solely based on a nation’s gross domestic product to accounting for the society’s well-being and sustainability. In effect, Sarkozy thinks that any government’s primary objective should be the greatest happiness of its citizens.

According to a World Values Survey by the University of Michigan Institute of Social Research, between 1981 and 2007, happiness and general life satisfaction has risen substantially in 40 of 52 countries tracked. Democratization and rising social tolerance are primarily responsible, followed by economic growth. “The results clearly show that the happiest societies are those that allow people the freedom to choose how to live their lives,” says survey director Ronald Inglehart.

Rising happiness and well-being are most notable in India, Ireland, Mexico, Puerto Rico and South Korea, with recent spikes in ex-communist countries, as well as Nigeria and Turkey. In 2007, Denmark ranked as the happiest nation, with the United States 16th.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Leafy Greens Lower Risk for Heart Disease

Teenagers that eat few leafy greens are at triple the risk for enlargement of the heart’s left ventricle, reducing blood pumping volumes, than teens that eat greens.

Physical Activity Deters Alzheimer's

Walking, dancing, gardening and other physical activities significantly improve brain volume and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Gooseberries are Good for the Gut

Malaysian subjects with gastrointestinal problems had less pain, vomiting and sleep loss when receiving an ayurvedic remedy known as Indian gooseberry.

Saunas Lower Blood Pressure

Four to seven saunas a week halved high blood pressure risk in a study of 1,621 Finnish men.

Positive Outlook Powers Osteoarthritis Patients

People with osteoarthritis that wake up feeling enthusiastic about getting things done in their day end up exercising more and feeling less plagued by symptoms.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags