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20 Most Peaceful Countries in the World to Live in

20 Most Peaceful Countries in the World to Live in

Imagine you could choose the most peaceful country in the world to live in. What a luxury! The first prize goes to Iceland, followed by Denmark and New Zealand. The Global Peace Index has issued a report which lists all 162 countries in the world according to how peaceful they are.

They used a wide range of respected sources such as The World Bank and some of the UN agencies before they drew up their list. Peace, according to their definition based on 22 indicators, is the absence of war, violence, low military spending, levels of policing, organized crime, and the application of democratic government.

Here are the 20 most peaceful countries in the world:

1. Iceland

Iceland

    Apart from dramatic scenery, Iceland has a 100% literacy rate in the 300,000 population  Living among an educated population which is tolerant towards minorities is a great bonus. The best thing of all is that murders (1.8 per 100,000 population a year) are practically non existent. Compare that with the US where you have a rate of 5.8 per 100,000.

    2. Denmark

    Denmark

      The Danes are said to be the happiest people in the world!  Figures for worker motivation are very high and there is a welfare system in place which is the envy of most of the world. Taxation is high but the money is well spent on making the Danish lifestyle really relaxed and well organized.

      3. New Zealand

      New Zealand

        One of the most unpolluted countries in the world where spectacular scenery abounds. 90% of  immigrants state that they would certainly recommend the land of the Kiwis to their families and friends. New Zealanders get generous leave benefits so they have plenty of time to enjoy the landscape and sports facilities.

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        4. Austria

        Austria

          Austrian teenagers get to vote when they are only sixteen years old but they can only drink alcoholic beverages when they are eighteen. Austria boasts a wonderfully clean environment where everything is spotless, great transport system and very low crime rates. It is also cheaper than many people believe. You can buy a bottle of drinkable wine for $4.

          5. Switzerland

          Switz

            The secret to Switzerland’s happy and healthy population is that the authorities have invested heavily in their people in providing them with excellent education, health services and employment benefits. They may be famous for their banking, cuckoo clocks and skiing resorts but they have wisely invested in their greatest asset.

            6. Japan

            Japan

              You need never worry about finding a clean restroom in Japan. They are spotless!  Combine that with great food, impeccably polite people and a transport system the envy of the world. Perhaps Japanese people work too hard but they have built a peaceful and technologically advanced nation in a relatively short time.

              7. Finland

              Finland

                If you do not mind the long, dark cold winters, Finland has plenty to offer.  There is practically no corruption and very little class distinction. It scores highly on gender equality as well.  It has practically the best education system in the world. Children are given plenty of recesses too in the fresh (cold!) air and there is a very low rate of ADHD.

                8. Canada

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                Canada

                  Did you know that the average household income in Canada is $28,000 annually? This is one of the highest in the world and certainly above OECD averages. In addition, there are excellent work opportunities where meritocracy is widely recognized. A peaceful country with a sound economy and beautiful landscapes make this a great place to live.

                  9. Sweden

                  Sweden

                    Another Scandinavian country in the top ten!  Sweden is fabulous for lots of snow and long winters so if you are into that, it is a great place to be. High standards of living plus generous parenting leave for mums and dads (15 months) plus a great welfare system justify its high place in the rankings.

                    10. Belgium

                    Belgium

                      If you love beer and chocolate and do not mind endless rainy days, then Belgium is another great location. There are wonderful old towns, castles and museums to visit. As regards transport, Paris and London are really near so you get the best of several worlds. You can be in Paris in 70 minutes taking the high speed train.

                      11. Norway

                      Norway

                        Norway is a really safe country and has an incredibly low prison population. It also comes out on top as regards health and happiness. Freedom to roam in a stellar landscape is enshrined in the Norwegian law known as ‘allemannsrett’ which means you can camp or trek anywhere you like. Add in fabulous lakes and fiords which make it one of the most beautiful and peaceful countries in the world.

                        12. Ireland

                        Ireland

                          I was born and grew up in Ireland so please turn a blind eye to the bias in this entry!  Yes, the people are really friendly and they have a wicked sense of humour which is great fun. Having a conversation with an Irish person can turn into an event! The scenery at times is breathtaking and it has some of the best golf courses in the world. The only problem is the weather but you can’t have everything.

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                          13. Slovenia

                          Slovenia

                            Slovenia scores highly as a great place to bring up kids and ranks higher than the UK, according to a UNICEF report. In addition to some wonderful trekking countryside, it has marvellous food and seems to have inherited the best from Italy and other neighbouring countries. You can feel very safe here as there are only 1,000 people in prison out of a total population of 2 million.

                            14. Czech Republic

                            Czech

                              The Czech Republic has a great musical tradition. Smetana, Dvorak and Janacek were all Czech citizens, just to name a few. It is also surprising to note that the last census revealed that 34% of the population consider themselves atheists. Marionette theater plus the traditional hearty food of soups and meat add to this country’s charm. The Czechs are very proud of their history, art, music and beer!

                              15. Germany

                              Germany

                                Another central European country where a fondness for the arts, history and music is not considered elitist. It is just a normal part of cultural life and tradition. High standards of living plus excellent organization in everyday life make Germany a great choice. Add in some great beer, trekkers’ paradise (with even trails for nudists), Christmas markets and beautiful fairy tale towns and you have a wonderful place to live.

                                16. Australia

                                Australia

                                  A great place to be young, healthy and in the fresh air because of such a pleasant climate. This may explain why life expectancy here is 82. The economy has benefited from mining and is resilient in spite of recession. Friendly people, amazing wildlife and spectacular scenery make Australia one of the most attractive countries on the planet.

                                  17. Singapore

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                                  Singapore

                                    Singapore is probably the most orderly city state in the world. Astonishing verdant city landscapes which are not just pretty and ornamental. Singapore is leading the way on green initiatives as regards energy, water conservation and the environment. Then you have great food, safe urban areas and the people are friendly and welcoming to foreigners.

                                    18. Portugal

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                                      A golfer’s paradise!  Boasting some of the most spectacular courses in the world and fabulous coastal scenery, Portugal is really very beautiful and has a great climate to go with it.  The crime rate is low and the pace of life is relaxed. Eating out is satisfying and inexpensive.

                                      19. Qatar

                                      Qatar

                                        One of the richest countries in the world where petrol may cost less than water. There are people waiting on you as you fill up with petrol, eat out and have your house cleaned. It is a great place to be spoiled. As Qatar prepares for the 2022 World Cup, (UN estimates 500 immigrants arrive daily!) there may be problems with disruption of services.

                                        20. Bhutan

                                        Bhutan

                                          Who invented ‘happiness’ as an indicator that you can live well? Probably the Bhutan government who coined the phrase GNH (gross national happiness) which was to highlight that material possessions such as a car full of petrol or cheap supermarkets cannot make people happy. Much better to concentrate on the health, well being and education of the people. What better place to do this than the tiny Bhutan Buddhist kingdom tucked away in the Himalayas between India and China. The country was a monarchy up till recently and faces challenges in increasing urbanization and establishing a truly democratic government.

                                          Featured photo credit: War and Peace/ Prasad Kholkute via flickr.com

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                                          How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                                          How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                                          Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                                          Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

                                          I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                                          You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                                          Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                                          When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                                          I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                                          Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                                          Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                                          Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                                          1. The Inner Critic

                                          This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

                                          • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                                          • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                                          • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                                          • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                                          He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                                          Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                                          2. The Worrier

                                          This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                                          He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

                                          Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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                                          3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                                          He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

                                          He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                                          He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                                          4. The Sleep Depriver

                                          This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                                          His motivation can be:

                                          • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                                          • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                                          • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                                          • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                                          How can you control these squatters?

                                          How to Master Your Mind

                                          You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                                          Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                                          There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                                          • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                                          • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                                          This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                                          The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                                          Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                                          For the Inner Critic

                                          When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                                          You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                                          For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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                                          You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

                                          “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                                          If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                                          • He riles up the Worrier.
                                          • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                                          • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                                          • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                                          • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

                                          Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                                          Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                                          For the Worrier

                                          Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                                          Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                                          You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                                          • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                                          • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                          • Muscles tense

                                          Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                                          If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                                          Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                                          “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                                          Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                                          If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                                          Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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                                          Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

                                          For example:

                                          If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                                          “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                                          Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                                          “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                                          Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                                          For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                                          Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                                          The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                                          • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                                          • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                          • Muscles tension

                                          I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                                          Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                                          Breathe in through your nose:

                                          • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                                          • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                                          • Focus on your belly rising.

                                          Breathe out through your nose:

                                          • Feel your lungs emptying.
                                          • Focus on your belly falling.
                                          • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                                          Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                                          Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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                                          One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

                                          Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                                          For the Sleep Depriver

                                          (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                                          I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                                          Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                                          1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                                          2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                                          When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                                          From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                                          For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                                          If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                                          You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                                          • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                                          • Shut down your thinking.
                                          • Calm your feelings.
                                          • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                                          Becoming the Master of Your Mind

                                          Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                                          You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                                          Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

                                          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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