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Is the world a happy place?

Today is International Day of Happiness and this year the theme is Share Happiness.  Happiness is really an underrated emotion.  When it comes to rating how happy one can be, several factors have to be considered.  Of course it isn’t tangible.  It also differs from country to country.  The World Happiness Report 2018 ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels and 177 countries by the happiness of their immigrants.  Since its inception in 2012, the report, which uses a variety of polling organisations, official figures and research methods, ranked the happiness of foreign-born immigrants in 117 countries. The countries were ranked based on factors such as inequality, life expectancy, social support, GDP per capita, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption.

It all began with Bhutan bringing in attention to happiness as a metric for its people.  The prime minister of Bhutan proposed a World Happiness Day to the United Nations in 2011, which created an international focus on happiness.  A year later the U.N. General Assembly declared March 20 as World Happiness Day, recognizing “the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives.”

It is interesting to note that Finland is at the top of both rankings, with the happiest immigrants and the happiest population. Finns said access to nature, safety, childcare, good schools and free healthcare were among the best things about in their country.

“The top five countries all have almost equally high values for the six factors found to support happiness, and four of these countries — Denmark, Switzerland, Norway and now Finland — have been in first place in the six World Happiness Report rankings since the first report. The most striking finding of the report is the remarkable consistency between the happiness of immigrants and the locally born,” said report co-editor John Helliwell, a professor emeritus of economics at the University of British Columbia.

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India has ranked 133rd amongst 156 countries, slipping 11 places from its previous rank of 122.  Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, Australia were ranked the top 10 countries.  India fell short in ‘freedom to make life choices’ and ‘generosity’ according to the index.  India was behind many of the SAARC nations apart from Afghanistan.  Indians are unhappier in comparison to most of their South Asian neighbours.  Pakistan went up by 5 spots w.r.t to last year.  Among the eight SAARC nations, Pakistan was at 75th position; Nepal stood 101, Bhutan at 97, Bangladesh at 115 and Sri Lanka at 116.

Why is India so unhappy? Is it corruption, farming crisis, gender parity, infrastructure, justice system?

In India 58 million people suffer from depression.  Since 2014 over 26000 students killed themselves.  India has one of the world’s highest suicide rates for youth aged 15 to19 since 2012.

However all is not lost when it comes to India’s happiness quotient.  There are several reasons to rejoice and the present generation foresees a promising future.

When it comes to diversity, fitness, ambition, entrepreneurship, culture, food and several other things, though growth and change maybe slow, there is considerable change that India has been witnessing over the years.  People have been compassionate and helpful to each other and that is surely a reason to be happy.  Let us take in each moment one at a time and work towards making India see happier times.

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Sharika Nair

Uncrowned Queen of certified PJs. Positive thinker. Writer . Author. Marathon Runner. Brand Marketing expert.

About the Author

Sharika Nair

Uncrowned Queen of certified PJs. Positive thinker. Writer . Author. Marathon Runner. Brand Marketing expert.

Read more from Sharika