Habits of the World’s Happiest People (Infographic)

Maggie Kimberl  |

A sense of purpose and a sense of belonging are just two of the traits that can lead to a happy life. This infographic from Family Living Today outlines some of the factors and habits that can lead to a happier life.

Habits of the World’s Happiest People

Happiness is more than an emotion: it’s is a pursuit and a state of mind

“Our survival is based on hope—hope for something good: happiness. Because of that, I always conclude that the purpose of life is happiness.” -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

  • The State of Happiness
    • 48% of our happiness is inherited
    • 40% of our happiness is controlled by isolated events
    • 40% of our capacity for happiness is within our power to change
    • 34% increased chance of becoming happy if next door neighbor becomes happy

Factors Affecting Happiness

  • Economic
    • Income
    • Employment
  • Social
    • Education
    • Family life
  • Health
    • Mental
    • Physical

Psychologists say a good life needs a mix of

  • A sense of purpose
  • Playfulness
  • Happiness
  • Occasional sadness
  • Psychological flexibility
  • Autonomy
  • Mastery
  • Belonging

Happiness can be hard to measure, but some places still produce more happiness per capita than others

Measuring Happiness:

The World’s Happiest People

  • The 2017 World Happiness report, commissioned by the UN, rates the 10 happiest countries based on 6 factors
    • GDP per capita
    • Healthy years of life expectancy
    • Social support (having someone to count on)
    • Trust (lack of corruption in government and business)
    • Freedom to make life decisions
    • Generosity
  • And the Grinners Are…
  1. Norway
  2. Denmark
  3. Iceland
  4. Switzerland
  5. Finland
  6. Netherlands
  7. Canada
  8. New Zealand
  9. Australia & Sweden
  • Why Norwegians Are the Happiest
    • Wealth
      • 4th wealthiest country in the world based on GDP per capita
    • Dark, cold climate
      • Survival in this climate requires greater mutual support, bringing communities together
    • Community spirit
      • Long-standing family relationships based on strong sense of identity
    • Economic security & benefits
      • Free education through the university level
      • Family allowance benefits for children

America’s Happiness

  • The report puts the U.S. at #19 out of 155 countries
  • Several factors are decreasing Americans’ happiness:
  • Decreasing social support
    • Less frequent helping behavior
    • Rising mortality rates caused by health-related issues
  • Lower sense of personal freedom
    • Lacking transparency in national surveillance efforts
    • Frequent frisking and body pat downs
  • Lower donations
    • Stark income inequality
    • Deteriorating educational system
  • Greater perception of corruption in government and business
    • Lower measures of social trust among ethnic communities
    • Lack of transparency in political campaign financing
  • It’s not all bad for Americans
  • Say they are happy
    • 2017: 33%
    • 2016: 31%
  • Rarely worry about their health
    • 2017: 53%
    • 2016: 48%
  • Hold spiritual beliefs as a positive guiding force
    • 2017: 71%
    • 2016: 66%
  • 86% have positive relationships with their family members
  • 72% are optimistic about their future

“Spread love everywhere you go; first of all in your house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor. Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” – Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Happiness is a habit worthy of personal change, effort and cultivation

Creating Happy Habits:

Characteristics of Happy People

  • Curious: seeking out new, complicated, uncertain and even upsetting experiences
  • Idealistic: rather than dwelling on the world’s many problems
  • Goal-focused: able to sacrifice short-term pleasure for long-term progress
  • Honest about what energizes them
  • Big picture-focused: less analytical and detail-oriented
    • Calm: less stressed out about performance in grades or work salary

Steps to Make Happiness a Habit

  • Live in the moment
    • A study has shown that being distracted is a cause of unhappiness
    • Reminiscing, thinking ahead or daydreaming makes people more miserable
  • Practice gratitude
    • Positive psychology research shows gratitude is associated with greater happiness and helps people
      • Relish good experiences
      • Feel more positive emotions
      • Build strong relationships
    • Practice compassion
      • Experiment published in Science by Harvard Business School:
        • Half given money to spend on themselves, half given money to spend on others
        • Found that participants who spent money on others were significantly happier
      • Spend time outdoors enjoying sunlight
        • Vitamin D is produced when UV rays hit the skin
        • Serotonin is secreted when eyes come in contact with sunlight
        • This literally makes us happier
      • Embrace negative feelings
        • Suppressing thoughts can diminish our sense of contentment
        • Better to acknowledge the complexity of life
        • Accept that anger and sadness are vital emotions to mental health
      • Place higher value on time over money
        • Prioritizing time is associated with greater happiness
        • The free time could be spent on hobbies, exercising, or with family
      • Smile more and often
        • Forcing muscles to smile will trick the brain into feeling happy

World’s Happiest Man — According to Science

  • Matthieu Ricard
    • Born in France in 1946
    • Lives in the Himalayan region as a Buddhist monk
    • Is also an author, translator, photographer, and speaker
    • Regularly meditates on compassion
    • Claims the key to happiness is thinking happy thoughts just 15 minutes a day
      • 12-year brain study led by neuroscientist Richard Davidson:
        • 256 sensors were hooked up to Ricard’s head
        • Meditating on compassion produced gamma waves never before reported in neuroscience
        • Excessive activity in prefrontal cortex gave him
          • An abnormally large capacity for happiness and
          • A reduced propensity towards negativity

“It seems hardly proper to write of life without once mentioning happiness; so we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?” – Hunter S. Thompson

Happiness is a journey, not a destination. —Alfred D. Souza



DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer



Symbol Last Price Change % Change










World Economic Forum at Davos 2019 - Joseph Weinberg CEO PayCase, Chairman Shyft

Matt Bird sits down with Joseph Weinberg CEO PayCase, Chairman Shyft at the World Economic Forum at Davos 2019

Emerging Growth

IMV Inc.

Immunovaccine Inc is clinical stage biopharmaceutical company. The Company develops products based on its proprietary vaccine enhancement platform in T cell activating therapies for cancer.