Pandemic Bright Spots and The Happiest Place on Earth

As our world community has battled disease and war, some of the best characteristics of humankind have also emerged alongside these challenges.

Despite living through (now) multiple global crises, according to the World Happiness Report for 2022, there is a light in the darkness.

The World Happiness Report now in its 10th year uses survey data from around the world reaching 150 countries and 9 million people. They measure how people evaluate the quality of their own lives alongside other factors that may affect the perception of well-being such as war and trust in governments and institutions.

The findings:

  • In 2021 there was major growth in all three acts of kindness monitored by the survey. Helping strangers, volunteering and donations were up 25% over pre-pandemic levels.
  • The pandemic brought with it an increase in benevolence and social support.

Based on data from the survey, the report ranks countries by “happiest” based on their citizens’ responses. So what really is the happiest place on earth? Here were the top 15 in order of happiest:

  1. Finland
  2. Denmark
  3. Iceland
  4. Switzerland
  5. Netherlands
  6. Luxembourg
  7. Sweden
  8. Norway
  9. Israel
  10. New Zealand
  11. Austria
  12. Australia
  13. Ireland
  14. Germany
  15. Canada

The US comes in at 16th place, the UK and the Czechia in 17th and 18th, followed by Belgium at 19th and France at 20th. At the very bottom of the rankings comes Afghanistan, leading the report authors to note the toll that war and poverty clearly take on quality of life. The takeaway: This report was created to help measure well-being and life satisfaction. Creating happier societies, though it may seem idealistic, is the goal of gathering this information. The data can be used to help governments develop policies that place the happiness and well-being of their citizens at the center. And from a health perspective, happiness and a sense of well-being play a huge role in our overall quality of life and mental health and can even have benefits for our physical health in the long run. Additionally, this year’s report shows that even in the toughest times, the good of humanity shines through and will even rise to the occasion.

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