Here’s a crazy fact. There’s something called the Eurobarometer, something by the European Commission, that ranks countries for well-being and happiness. Since 1973, that’s right for the last 43 years, Denmark has earned the top spot.
Apparently, the United Nations didn’t think this was sufficient, so they did their own study and guess what they found…Denmark was indeed #1.
What makes the Danes so damn happy?
Danes pay more attention to building memories than on gadgets and gizmos. “Studies show that people who focus on experiences over “things” have higher levels of satisfaction, long after the moment of the experience has passed.” Another study seconded these findings that, “the more social interactions with close friends a person has, the greater their self-reported happiness.”
So you have to do things.
The alternative is going on Facebook and seeing what other people have done. Which is depressing – literally (look up Facebook and depression).
Ok. Doing things and being social makes up happy. So why aren’t people doing more things?
Often the excuse is time. I don’t buy it. We’re awake for 16 hours or so, so how do we spend it. We spend an average of 2.8 hours per day on watching television and movies. And about 50 minutes on Facebook. That’s more than 3.5 hours per day. So you may be too busy…but too busy on TV binging doesn’t really count.
The amount of time people spend a day on exercising – 17 minutes – and social events – 4 minutes – is paltry in comparison.
Time isn’t the reason we don’t do anything.
What is it then? My guess is that we don’t have anybody to do it with. In a Gallup poll 53% of people said they have five close friends or less. How many of these friends do think are from school and don’t live near you anymore? Half? So 2.5 of your friends don’t leave near you.
This isn’t just try for athletic events is true for everything we do – including eating. In 2006, nearly 60 of Americans regularly ate on their own. Today, that number is higher. “Every meal is becoming a more solitary affair, even dinner.” Seifer said. “People are eating alone at home and out.”
So to be happy we need to do things with other people. But we need friends to do it with. And we’re doing more things alone.
Part of the reason is that Americans are more likely to push off having a family. From 1970 to 2012, the percentage of households that contained a single person grew from 17 percent to 27 percent.
Since people have a community in school or their company, I would the emphasis on those communities. Engage students and employees, and foster these type of interactions that bring everyone together. Unless you’re a school or a corporation in Demark where everybody is already happy, I suggest that it’s in your best interest to have happier employees and students.
Conclusion: Danes are super happy because they interact with their comrades not contraptions. To interact with comrades we need comrades, not more time. We probably don’t have a lot of comrades so we need some help from the community – colleges and corporations.
We’ll tackle why it’s important why people around you are happy.