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Dagmara Almand

The Happiness Quotient

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The happiest countries?

Every year Forbes puts out a list of the top 140+ countries (95% of the global population) and ranks them on a happiness scale (http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2013/01/09/the-worlds-happiest-and-saddest-countries-2/).

Every year Denmark, Norway, and Sweden are at the top of the list.
What makes these countries stand out?

What makes a difference?

All happy people need the basics. Food, clothing, a roof over their heads, no government turmoil, medicine, adequate water, hospitals, and  schools.The basics give us a hope for the future.

If the basics are there happiness comes from a way of life and an upbringing that fosters social experiences over excessive wealth and an abundance of personal experiences over an abundance of “stuff.”

So… what makes people happy?

It sounds silly to say that. Spending time together instead of buying stuff makes people happy. It seems obvious.

But spending time together is more than just being under the same roof. It’s about family time or time with true friends as kids play together, running around the house chasing and being loud (being kids). Getting together and participating in life’s activities with those who make our hearts happy. From an early age it’s about being included and growing up in a variety of social experiences. Not being left behind as your parents go out and play.

I remember going to friends’ houses, having people come over, or spending time at the local disco (not like american bar) I didn’t stay home with a nanny. I went out too. Walking from table to table amongst my parents’ friends asking for change for the juke box for “just one more song” made me feel included. Kids learn from what we teach them about socializing and their importance in our lives. Learning from an early age about interpersonal communication and the enjoyment of social experience from participating in those experiences helps make us happy adults.

What the experts say?

USA today says the happiest people surround themselves with family and friends, don’t care about keeping up with the Joneses next door, lose themselves in daily activities and, most important, forgive easily (http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2002-12-08-happy-main_x.htm).

Balance

It’s all about balance. We are a nation of individualists. Free thinkers and innovators.

I love that. Free thinking and innovation is key to development and taking the road less traveled (Frost). But when does individualism conspire against us?

Have your own ideas and follow your own path. But remember to surround yourself with true friends who inspire. To communicate so true friendships arise. To forgive and forget and not care about the Joneses.

Our value comes from our humanity. Not from our pocket books. Our ability to inspire comes from our soul and not from the size of our house or the logo on our car. Remembering this makes it is easier to share out thoughts. Our ideas. To be willing to say“this is who I am!”

And remember… what you teach your kids today about themselves, society, laughter, and the beauty of life is what they will share tomorrow.

So, next time you get hurt just forgive!

And next time you compare yourself to the achievements of your neighbors why don’t you invite them over for dinner and see what they have to offer the world under all that stuff filling their house. They might surprise you with what truly makes them happy!

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