want to travel to a happy country? better consult the world happiness report

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A new post-global recession mode of thinking? The Kingdom of Bhutan, a landlocked state of 700,000 located in the Himalayas, thinks the world should modify its approach to the formulation of economic and political policies. Its prime minister presided over the first United Nations’ World Happiness Report, which aimed to take into account “happiness and well-being” when devising economic and political models. This was part of a conference entitled “Happiness and Well-being: Defining a New Economic Paradigm.”

As reported by the AP, “the report noted that social factors such as the strength of social support, the absence of corruption and the degree of personal freedom were more important than wealth.” In other words, a nations GNP [gross national product] does not tell the entire story, one must take into account these other factors.

Further, the report suggested that while formulating policy, governments should stay focused “helping people meet their basic needs, reinforcing social systems, implementing active labor policies, improving mental health services, promoting compassion, altruism and honesty, and helping the public resist hyper-commercialism.”

The happiest countries?

1. Denmark
2. Finland
3. Norway
4. The Netherlands
5. Canada
6. Switzerland
7. Sweden
8. New Zealand
9. Australia
10. Ireland
11. United States

The least happy countries?

1. Togo
2. Benin
3. Central African Republic
4. Sierra Leone
5. Burundi
6. Comoros
7. Haiti
8. Tanzania
9. Congo (Brazzaville)
10. Bulgaria

I have traveled to all of the top 11 happiest countries and have only traveled to two of the bottom ten [although Togo and Benin are on my 2013 list], and it is no coincidence that the richer nations fared better in this report.

So when you think about your next travel plans, you may want to take into account the happiness of a country, or, spread a little happiness yourself.

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