DLW is an occasional blog about how people spend the time of their lives (every moment) to enable health, balance, meaning and fulfillment. As a blogspot about doing, it draws from personal stories and from studies of everyday living. It's main idea is that to be well, people must be involved fully in what they do. The activities that occupy our days help to connect us to the world, define who we are, and keep us healthy.

Friday, May 29, 2009

More on the world's happiest countries

Previous posts have discussed the comparative data among countries using measures of happiness or subjective well being. Sometimes, the fact that two different measures are used causes confusion. One measure, used by Martin Seligman to measure "authentic happiness" as described in his book, is the simpler of the two. It measures happiness by asking people how happy they are. A second measure also asks people how happy they are but adds a second dimension called satisfaction. That measure is called a subjective well being score and is used in the World Values Surveys done at the University of Michigan.

Using the second (subjective well being) measure, the following countries rank in the top five across the globe: 1. Nigeria 2. Mexico 3. Venezuela 4. El Salvador and 5. Puerto Rico. At first blush, it is obvious that these countries have something in common: they each have large numbers of relatively poor people, suggesting that money does not equate with happiness. The list brings to mind another truth, which is this: Happiness is a state of mind, and as such, people have complete control over it. If people make the best of their circumstances, they can create the conditions necessary for happiness. One wonders if there is a cultural characteristic about poverty that enables people to see the best in their circumstances, which in turn influences their sense of well being?

I have two friends, both professionals, who respectively are from Nigeria and Puerto Rico. They are both positive energy emoting people. That is, they bring good feelings to situations, in comparison with others who seem to work hard in the opposite direction. Each of these persons also share the trait of valuing things that make a difference in the longer term, while also taking care to make each moment a particular pleasure for themselves and others.

In future blogposts I will explore this notion further. As always, if you have observations about anything on this topic or others that pertains to doing life well, please share it with us!

About Me

I am a writer, lifelong student, former academic and new blogger. My passion continues to be everyday living. I am interested in what people do, how, when and why they do it, and what it means for their their understanding of the world and hence, their well being.