Who really wants to be depressed and miserable? Most likely, no one. Happiness is a basic human pursuit. While happiness sometimes can be difficult to find or even explain, one of the things that define us as human is our eternal search for happiness – in whatever form we want or expect it to take. But how happy are we?
According to their most recent World Happiness Report, a fascinating scientific study into overall happiness in the world, Denmark is currently ranked as the world’s happiest nation out of the 156 nations surveyed. Very happy Denmark is followed by slightly less happier Norway, Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Austria, Iceland and Australia. The United States comes in at number 17 behind Panama and Mexico. However, Togo has the unfortunate honor of ranking as the least happiest nation.
If we can measure the happiness of an entire country, what about the happiness of a language or a language speaker? Humans in general show a bias towards positive words. In a separate study, according to News Mic, researchers asked native speakers to rate words according to a scale of happiness. Then they analyzed different types of writing in those languages. They found that native speakers of certain languages tended to express happiness more often than native speakers of other languages. In fact, Spanish speakers were found to be the happiest! They were followed by Portuguese speakers and English speakers. Out of the languages surveyed, Chinese speakers were found to be the least happy.
Of course, when we study and measure and create averages, stories can be missed and individuals can sometimes be swept under the rug. No matter what country we are from or what language we speak, we are all looking to be happy and trying to be happy. So what makes you happy, and how happy are you?