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The Top 5 Happiest Countries In The World

The Top 5 Happiest Countries In The World

I think it’s quite safe to say that 2016 wasn’t the best year ever. For many, it was strange and frightening. For others, it was even worse than that. Our immediate future doesn’t look all that great based on what we saw this year, but there are some places on earth where happiness reigns.

2017 could be the perfect time for a trip to one or more of the happiest countries on earth. Who knows, perhaps by paying them a visit, we’ll all feel a bit happier again.

1. Finland

    We can see a familiar pattern start to form when it comes to the world’s happiest countries. Three of the top five countries are located in Scandinavia, which should probably tell us that they are really doing something right.

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    Finland is renowned for its excellent education system, low levels of corruption, very high literacy rates, and a relatively small income gap from top to bottom. Factor in a long life expectancy and a great work-life balance and it’s not difficult to see why Finland is one of the happiest countries in the world.

    If the city isn’t your thing, tourists may also quite enjoy some of the stunning Nordic country scenery that Finland is known for.

    2. Norway

    In recent years the Norwegian government made a real push to advertise this amazing country to the rest of the world. The pictures spoke for themselves and this is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Scandinavia. It might not be the cheapest holiday vacation in the world, but you can’t really put a price on happiness.

    For its full-time residents, Norway is one of the happiest countries in the world thanks to its prosperity and a sense of satisfaction with the standard of living. Not to mention the fact that three-quarters of people report that, in general, positive days far outweigh the negative ones.

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    3. Iceland

      Iceland is a great example for every country out there. Given its recent troubled history, it is amazing that Iceland is now considered one of the happiest countries in the world. It’s placing here just shows you how much positivity can be drawn from what seem to be the most challenging of times.

      The massive economic recession of 2008 served to bring communities within Iceland together. In doing so they have turned their country around. The true root of happiness may be a more complex topic to understand, but this beautiful place will bring a smile to the face of any visitor.

      With active volcanoes, pristine beaches, lovely towns and cities, an amazing loop road around the whole country for road trip lovers, and just the most incredible natural beauty available in all directions, it’s easy to see why Iceland is one of the happiest countries on earth.

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      4. Switzerland

      Switzerland breaks up the Scandinavian monopoly on the world’s happiest countries with its appearance here. Its inclusion is also a little surprising as Switzerland might seem to be the opposite in many ways from the other happy countries. This is a country which includes one of the most expensive cities in the world and has long been renowned for drawing in the world’s jet-setters to its ski slopes and numerous fancy boutiques.

      What it certainly does have in common with the other happiest countries on the list is an abundance of natural beauty. The Alps, mountain lakes, picturesque towns, and villages that serve hearty, local food, it’s a haven for adventure and sports’ lovers. Switzerland is fully deserving on the list of the world’s happiest countries.

      5. Denmark

        Denmark is officially the happiest country in the world. A lot of people have become aware of this fact over the last few years. In fact, the Danish word, hygee, as come to define this uniquely high-level of happiness.

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        Hygee can loosely be translated to coziness, but there is also an emphasis on how the Danes just seem to take real pleasure in simple things. When you think about it, it is strange that Scandinavia with so much cold weather and darkness should be such a happy place. The people here are obviously able to innately draw on some inner resilience to see the light in things.

        For happiness-tourists, Denmark is an excellent stop. For all of us, it should be observed and studied rather than simply enjoyed. If whole parts of the world can be genuinely happy as a collective, there’s no reason why the rest of us can’t join in too.

        Additional photo credits:  Markus Trienke, Moyan Brenn, John Anes.

        Featured photo credit: Candida.Performa/It’s all about love via flic.kr

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        Last Updated on September 28, 2020

        The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

        The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

        At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

        Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

        One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

        When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

        So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

        Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

        This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

        Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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        When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

        Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

        One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

        Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

        An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

        When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

        Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

        Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

        We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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        By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

        Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

        While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

        I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

        You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

        Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

        When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

        Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

        Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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        Con #2: Less Human Interaction

        One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

        Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

        Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

        This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

        While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

        Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

        Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

        This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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        For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

        Con #4: Unique Distractions

        Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

        For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

        To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

        Final Thoughts

        Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

        We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

        More About Working From Home

        Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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