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The Happiest Countries and What We Can Learn from Them

Happiest CountryA couple of weeks ago, I caught an episode of Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Sunday morning show on which he talked about Denmark being the happiest of countries. The most recent pole by Gallup, has actually revealed that the happiest countries as of late, is Panama, with Costa Rica in second place, and Denmark in third.

133,000 adults, aged 15 and older, living in 135 countries were interviewed for the Gallup and Healthways pole. The interviews measured the happiness of countries through five different lenses:

  • Purpose: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
  • Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life
  • Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
  • Community: liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community
  • Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

When looking at the data, Gallup classifies responses as “thriving” (well-being that is strong and consistent), “struggling” (well-being that is moderate or inconsistent), or “suffering” (well-being that is low and inconsistent).

Sadly, the United States didn’t even rank in the top 10 in ANY of these areas.

Now, that’s not to say that just because your country is or isn’t “happy,” that you are, as well. But, it does make you stop and think, doesn’t it?

Regardless of where your country stands, however, we can learn a little from these “happy countries.” In Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s show, he reveals some core elements that contribute specifically to the Dane’s happiness:

  1. Experience over Possession: Although they can’t necessarily buy expensive cars or vacations, they place great emphasis on experiences. What they DO WITH THEIR TIME is more important than what they OWN or BUY.
  2. Social Connectivity and Trust: They spend a lot of time with family, and enjoy building memories. They enjoy being part of their community and being connected to others. They have great trust in their government, and the people in their lives. They value relying on others and being relied on.
  3. Attitude: They value laughter and maintain a positive attitude.

Share the Love and Tweet This: “Happy Living via the Danes: Experience over possession, social connectivity & a positive attitude can get you to happy.” @brettblumenthal

In an interview of a Danish family, Sanjay Gupta asked them what was the one thing that they thought could be improved upon in Denmark. The answer? They believe there could be greater emphasis on and respect for “success.” They went on to confide that the relatively flat socio-economic status of their nation can lead to apathy or mediocrity.

This had me thinking: the grass is always greener, isn’t it? Here in the United States, so much emphasis is placed on success, that we often lose sight of the importance of the basics in life: Family, friendship, community, and our experiences. That said, our country is known for driving change…whether it be politically, socially or industrially.

In my own research, I’ve found time and time again what makes the Dane’s happy, is pretty standard across the board. Building a life of purpose and meaning that goes beyond the materialistic, building strong ties to family, friends and your community, and maintaining a positive attitude, all make a world of difference. I know it does for me.

Now it’s your turn. Where do you live and how happy do you think your country is and how happy do you think you are? Do these three elements exist in your life? Do you think they have an impact on your own happiness levels? Please share in the comments below and be as detailed as possible so we all can learn from one another!

Thank you, as always for reading. And if you enjoyed, please share!

Warmest regards,


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Posted in Brett's Blog, Uncategorized