Last month the LA Times released some of the latest findings about happiness. According to the 2013 World Happiness Report, published by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network, around the world, we were .5% happier from 2010-2012 than from 2005-2007.
What is Happiness? Six Main Dimensions Worldwide
Researchers asked approximately 3,000 people in each of 150 countries to rank their over-all sense of life satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10. They found six main dimensions to happiness: 1) income, 2) mental and physical health, 3) social support, 4) freedom to make choices, 5) being inclined to help others, and 6) living in a country that doesn’t seem corrupt.
- The five happiest countries seem to be Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Sweden.
- The three unhappiest countries are the Central African Republic, Benin, Togo.
- The level of happiness people reported was up 7% in Latin America and the Caribbean, about 5.9% in the Commonwealth of Independent States (former Soviet republics,) and about 5% in East Asia.
- Happiness levels were down 11.7% in the Middle East and North Africa, and down 6.8% in South Asia.
The author of the report, Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, says “There is no one key to a society’s well-being, but if you take these five variables, they explain about three-quarters of the observed variation across countries.”
An astute commenter on the LA Times article pointed out, each of the five countries that were the most happy had more than 96% of the population being of one race and having one dominant religion. That was striking and made an incredible amount of sense to me.
The Tools to Build YOUR Own Happiness
Taking all this happiness business one step further, Attitude Reconstruction contends that anyone, regardless of their country, religion, age, and economic condition can increase their own level of happiness by using the five tools they were born with. Regardless of circumstances, follow these simple guidelines:
- Handle our sadness, anger, and fear physically, naturally, and constructively
- Replace our repetitive destructive thinking with what is true
- Consult and listen to our intuition for guidance
- Communicate by following the four simple rules, and
- Take action aligned with what we know within, we can’t help but feel more of the emotions of joy, love, and peace (aka happiness).
- Try doing the opposite of what you usually do that doesn’t work very well, and see how you feel.