South Africa has dropped in ranking from 101 to 105 on a list of the happiest countries in the world. Happiness is a fuzzy concept and can include well-being, quality of life, flourishing and contentment. In philosophy and western religion, happiness is defined in terms of living a good life, or flourishing, rather than simply as an emotion. Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being which can be defined by, among others, positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

Since the turn of the millennium, psychologists have increasingly become interested in developing an approach to human flourishing, but how can that happiness translate to where you live?

According to a report by the United Nations (UN), you’d be happier living in drought-hit Somalia, terrorist-prone Pakistan, suppressed Palestine, or communist China than in South Africa. Out of 156 countries, South Africa was named the world’s 105th happiest country, in the World Happiness report.

The report based on polls conducted by Gallup between 2015 to 2017 states, countries with the largest declines in average life evaluations typically suffered some combination of economic, political and social stresses.

Here are some of the ‘happier’ countries. They have remained in the top 10 over the past 2 years.

  1. Finland
  2. Norway
  3. Denmark
  4. Iceland
  5. Switzerland
  6. Netherlands
  7. Canada
  8. New Zealand
  9. Sweden
  10. Australia

They all tend to have high values for all six of the key variables found to support well-being which includes: income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity.

Togo, in West Africa was the biggest gainer, moving up 17 positions to 139. Venezuela was the biggest loser dropping to 102. Sadly, it was still happier than South Africa.

Clearly they haven’t been to Cape Town to see the happy folks walking about in our streets.

This video shows just how happy we can be.

Even though South Arica is ranked at number 105th on the list, it doesn’t make our bright and beautiful nation the least happiest ( or unhappiest) country. Ranked at the last 3 positions on the list are:

154. South Sudan 

155. Central African Republic 

156. Burundi 


Picture: Pixabay

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