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Happiest Place on Earth


Posted by Heather J.

Adrian White, from the UK's University of Leicester, surveyed 80,000 people worldwide to map out subjective wellbeing and determine the happiest place on earth. Where is it? It ain't Disneyland, that's for sure. It's Denmark. That's right, Denmark. The land of freezing cold temperatures, a place where people pay 60 percent in taxes, and the country that spawned Hamlet, aka the "dismal Dane." So why are they smiling? The secret reportedly lies in a "culture of low expectations." Not pessimists per se, but the Danish tend to set their goals low, evoke a natural modesty, and are generally happy with what they have. Any simple pleasure is a gift. Pretty sound words to live by, huh? They also have a generous welfare system, and ranked highest in White's survey, which measured health levels, prosperity, and access to education. Switzerland and Austria came in second and third on the list, respectively. The UK ranked at #46 and the U.S. made it to #23.
 
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We are so about "more more more" and I think that causes a lot of problems. Never mind that our American focus on bigger and better is very environmentally destructive. Each new SUV put onto the planet is another win for global warming. Each new McMansion is an energy-guzzling suburban nightmare wasting energy and resources. Sometimes LESS is MORE.
I'm in agreement with Stephanie. I think that living in a consumerist anti-culture that's heavy on advertising and spiritual materialism has taken a huge toll on our well-being. I don't understand why this surprises people, but then again, I feel that accumulation is a very American thing and most of us would prefer to live with our unhappiness if that means being able to stock up on the cool gadgets. May sound pessimistic, but from what I've seen...
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