Denmark's Take on How to be Happy

Hello again readers!  Today I want to discuss happiness for a moment.

The “Blue Zones Project” found an answer about two years ago to the elusive questions:

“What makes people happy?”
“Who is the happiest country?”

We’ll start with the second question first.  Their results determined that Denmark is the happiest country in the world.  This ABC report on the findings is a bit (in my opinion, a little disrespectful, and) tongue in cheek when they say, “cold, dreary, unspectacular Denmark”.  Regardless, there are several reasons that Blue Zones awarded this peninsula situated in the northern part of the globe with the title.

A lack of status differentiation between social or economic classes.  Featured in the ABC segment is a middle-aged garbage man who rates himself about as happy as a Danish Price – who prefers to keep his lineage quiet, and does carpentry for a living.  You’ll find no elitism or snobbery here.

High taxes = Feeling "tucked-in", like a child.  Danes pay some hefty taxes, between 50-70% of their income.  Does this cause riots and protests?  Nope.  This study purports that taxpayers feel “tucked in” and safe, knowing the government is going to take care of them, through an effective and all-inclusive socialist system.  The government not only covers life essentials like health care and education, but health and wellness benefits such as social club memberships.

Trust.  Everywhere.  I remember hearing The Strokes’ lead singer Julian Casablancas (a half-Dane born in NYC), speak of a childhood trip to visit family in Denmark.  Being from New York, he couldn’t believe how residents would leave houses unlocked and valuable merchandise sitting on the street unattended.  That’s how it is there – everyone can be trusted, and the “lock it up” mentality is non-existent.

This is just a brief overview of the study, but I think it raises some interesting points about how we interact with one another.  Said in different words, Danes are happy because:

·    they respect one another
·    they relinquish their wealth for the common good – knowing it will come right back to them
·    they trust each other

If that isn’t a recipe for total happiness in life, I don’t know what is.  The only problem in applying these aspects to our own life, is it is much easier to practice these techniques when we are surrounded by others who do the same.  If our circle of friends and family are disrespectful, untrustworthy and selfish, it makes it much more difficult to have successful relationships.

This is why I encourage others to surround themselves with as many supportive, caring, non-toxic people as possible.  Connecting with kind people can have an incredibly positive effect on our lives.


  1. Anonymous says

    What a fascinating story!

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