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The Happiness Connection  

Are you happy about that?

We aren’t as happy as we used to be.

The eighth edition of the 2020 World Happiness Report, a comprehensive study of global happiness, has been published. 

Of the 153 countries listed, Canada is 11th. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that we have slipped two places.

Canada is followed by Australia and the United Kingdom, with the United States taking 18th place. Finland is in the top position for the third year in a row.

It appears that we aren’t as happy as we once were. The study also looks at changes in happiness by comparing the findings of the first report to the current one. We are 115th in that list with a negative change in well-being.

I think it’s worth mentioning that this study isn’t looking for who feels the happiest emotions. It’s looking for citizens who have the highest levels of life-satisfaction.

It can be interesting to see how we measure up compared to other countries, but that isn’t a very useful exercise. Knowing what drives satisfaction is much more helpful.

The study looked at six major drivers:

  • Wealth
  • Health
  • Social support
  • Freedom
  • Corruption
  • Generosity.

Let me clarify these.

Wealth – gross domestic product per capita.

Health – life expectancy.

Social support – do you have a supportive social circle you can rely on?

Freedom – do you have freedom to pursue the life that you want?

Corruption – do you believe corruption is widespread in your government?

Generosity – have you donated to a charity in the last month?

What one do you think had the greatest impact on feeling satisfied with life?

Social support won by a landslide with approximately 43%. It was more than six times more important than wealth, which came in fifth place at 7%.

Freedom to create the life you desire was second, around 24%. That is close to being half as important as having a social network. Generosity was almost half again at roughly 13%, closely followed by corruption at about 12%.

This information is always worth taking note of, but it seems especially important now during this time of uncertainty.

Based on the findings of the 2020 World Happiness Report, here are four ways you can boost your satisfaction with life.

Strengthen and build your social relationships.

This isn’t about partying or having a huge number of followers on social media. This is about knowing you have people in your life that you can rely on if you need help.

I also recommend that you think about who you provide social support to. If the answer is nobody, maybe it is time to change that. Who needs to know you are there for them if they need a shoulder, a ride, or a laugh?

I love my own company and have gotten used to my hermit-like ways. My broken ankle and social distancing have encouraged me to stay home. This report has been a great reminder not to take relationships for granted.

Without attention, they can wither and die.

Empower yourself to create the life of your dreams.

It is easy to find yourself in victim energy and believe that life is happening to you. Instead, step into your personal power and take control of your life.

Look for new perspectives and examine your beliefs. Are you making choices that support empowerment, or are you a casualty of life?

Decide what you want to change in your world and then go ahead and take a small step towards doing that. Don’t worry about how you are going to achieve the goal, just know that you intend to do it and take tiny steps.

Ask yourself everyday what you can do to move in the direction you have chosen.

Give to others.

The study looked at giving to charities, but any time of generosity towards others will boost your sense of well-being. Committing random acts of kindness have been proven to have a major effect on how good you feel.

Create freedom from corruption.

This is very topical. You may think there is nothing you can do to change this, but that isn’t true. Being aware of corruption, encouraging transparency, and becoming part of the voice that says enough is enough, will all contribute to an increased level of trust.

The results are in. The things that have the greatest impact on the satisfaction of the world’s citizens has been declared. What you choose to do with the information is up to you.



More The Happiness Connection articles

About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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