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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 July 10, 2020

        How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

        How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

        We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

        We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

        So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

        Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

        What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

        Boundaries are limits

        —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

        Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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        Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

        Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

        Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

        How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

        Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

        1. Self-Awareness Comes First

        Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

        You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

        To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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        You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

        • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
        • When do you feel disrespected?
        • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
        • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
        • When do you want to be alone?
        • How much space do you need?

        You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

        2. Clear Communication Is Essential

        Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

        Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

        3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

        Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

        That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

        Sample language:

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        • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
        • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
        • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
        • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
        • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
        • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
        • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

        Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

        4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

        Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

        Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

        Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

        We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

        It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

        It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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        Final Thoughts

        Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

        Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

        Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

        The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

        Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

        Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

        They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

        Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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