What makes people happy? Friends, sex, and short work commutes.
Last week, the United Nations unveiled the first-ever “World Happiness Report,” which pegged Northern European countries, including Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Iceland, as among the happiest in the world. While money can certainly buy you happiness (to an extent), the report also examined other ways people get a boost, such as enjoying time with friends and having a healthy body.
The report reviewed several decades of research on happiness, with the focus on the link between economic growth and happiness. While the results found that richer countries are happier than poorer ones, individual wealth bolsters happiness only in a limited way. “Other things matter more: community trust, mental and physical health, and the quality of governance and rule of law,” stated the report.
In addition to measuring an individual’s overall evaluation of life, the report also looked at day-to-day joys, dubbed “affective happiness.” Feel-good boosters included time with friends and family and regular sex, while downsides were long work commutes and meetings with bosses.