I am always happy at happy meetings, positively jolly, as such occasions demand. But, to raise another problem, the degree of happiness can vary from one meeting to another meeting. And, if you measure my mood in the middle of the festive hours, you might find the happiness area colorful, but with a marked decrease in intensity as the evening wears into the late night. The next morning could show a plenty of remorse at having indulged too much for too long. I crawl out of bed swearing, never again. Until the next party, that is. So, what do you measure, and exactly when and where, if you want to declare me happy or unhappy?
But common sense arguments never stopped scientists. Neurologists, psychiatrists and geneticists will carry on turning common sense on its head, as indeed they must if they are true scientists. And now, political scientists and social psychologists have joined the band. They have gone one beyond to classify whole nations in a global happiness index.
Researchers at Britain’s University of Leicester used a battery of statistical data and surveyed 80,000 people worldwide to chart the state of happiness in 178 countries. The happiest nation? Denmark and Switzerland, which tied for first place. The most unhappy? Zimbabwe and Burundi. The United States came in 23rd in the list, even though it was the first republican democracy in the world to incorporate the pursuit of happiness in its Constitution as a worthy national goal.
You might assume the people in India are a pretty happy bunch, going by the delirious, musical acrobatics that inundate our TV screens day in ad night out or by the sheer number of supposedly happy festivals they celebrate year in and year out. Well, India figures a lowly 125th on the index. If that makes anyone sad, you can feel happy by looking at Pakistan, which is 166th, just one step above Russia. But, then again, China is higher at 82nd.
Interestingly, the countries that fare well on the index are almost all well-off, Being healthy and wealthy boosts national moods. But does it make people wise? If being healthy and wealthy made nations wise, the Iraq war may not have happened. Capitalism, however, is a winner. All the nations listed high on the index are market economies.
Democracy, curiously, does not seem to feature in the global happiness equation, much to the chagrin of the liberals who value freedom – of expression, in particular as key ingredient of any national happiness formula, although most nations in the top 50 in the list are democracies. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Brunei and Kuwait are also up there, underscoring the wealth factor but raising doubts about popular yearning for freedom.
The one intriguing entry in the list, at number 8, is the happy state of Bhutan. It is neither wealthy nor is it a market economy. But it is only country which officially measures its well-being not by GDP alone but also by a national happiness index. Bhutan’s culture minister explained on the BBC show how people were kept happy by strict government supervision of what they could see on TV and what outside influences would be allowed into the landlocked kingdom. Clearly, if you don’t let people know what excitement lies out there in the wide world, ignorance can indeed be bliss.
You need to be happy – it is our birthright because we do not wish to live in misery or disappointment. How? It is very easy – just you are to keep control over your ever increasing needs by balancing it with your resources, keeping yourself emotionally high and taking the bad things as these too shall pass away. You need to rejoice with every moment giving up your unnecessary ego and value your time and keep care of your health. A single right decision of marriage with a right person can make up 90% of your happiness throughout your life. You must consider your matrimonial proposals very carefully. You must have proper management of your time and ensure how every unit of time available with you is productive and how its productivity can be enhanced further. You must find out the solutions of your problems rather than postponing them or accumulating for a future date. You may ignore the little follies and find out the reasons so that they are not repeated. There are many do’s and don’ts depending upon your individual circumstances – for being happy, you need to identify what can make you really happy.
Be Happy – Try to Learn How To be Happy.