In our previous blogs, we looked at various Ws to make us happy. Those include Well-being, Working partner, Wealth, Work and Retirement, and Well-wishers (Friends, Family, Culture, Volunteering, Spirituality and religion, and our living community). You can find more on my website at HappyMindMD.com.
In this final article, I will discuss if our community, state, and nation we live in can make us happy.
Bhutan Government developed the gross National Happiness index. It includes some aspects of what people can achieve themselves (Mental, physical and material well-being, work-life balance, social connections) and some from what your nation does for you (education, arts and culture, environment and nature, and good governance).
Cities and state Happiness: Similarly, several US cities have made their mission to make their residents happy and, in return improve the economic conditions. Sharecare-Community well-being index of 2021 includes the well-being index and social determinant of health index. Hawaii scored the most, and so did some of the coastal states.
They noted that the community well-being index marginally went up in 2021. Most notable was the sense of purpose at work and in the community. Those communities with a higher sense of purpose had a lower risk of preventable diseases like COPD, CAD, Depression, and CKD. They also looked at the resignation rates. States with the highest resignation rates rank lower in the community wellbeing domain than states with the lowest, reflecting the importance of liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community for job retention. Higher scoring stated had better transportation, jobs, Healthcare resources, and better economic situation. In his book on Happiness, Layard described the “Big Seven” factors that affect happiness among adult populations. Personal freedom is Layard’s sixth factor; it is primarily measured by the extent to which people feel that their governments are effective and provide them with a stable context of rights and the rule of law. Layard includes “the rule of law; stability and lack of violence; voice and accountability; the effectiveness of government services; the absence of corruption; and the efficiency of the system of regulation.”
The Quality-of-Life survey also provides several items that asked respondents to assess the quality and/or type of built environment they live in and questions about the conditions of, or maintenance of, their city’s public realm. Some of similar findings emerged. Better transportation, parks, libraries, access to shopping, and safety made people happier. National happiness: The World Happiness Report’s researchers say that most people’s happiness is driven by strong economic growth, healthy life expectancy, trust, generosity, quality social relationships, and the freedom to live and work as they prefer. Based on these factors, not surprisingly, the nations ranked in the top five in the 2016 UN survey are Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Finland. The short answer is that the politicians they elect are committed to governing in the public interest—maximizing their citizens’ equality, security, health and living standards (hence their happiness), and minimizing their ill-health, poverty, and stress. This means their governments steadfastly resist the influence of large corporations, maintain a fair tax system, and scrupulously deter political corruption.