Let’s be honest, living and working in the UK can take its toll on a person! You are certainly not alone if you have considered moving to another country purely for improving your health, wellbeing and overall quality of life.
There are of course many other countries where residents experience much of the same problems. So how can you choose a country where you are certain the move would only have positive impacts on your happiness and wellbeing?
Thanks to the annual World Happiness Report undertaken by the Happiness Research Institute, it has never been easier to clearly see which country offers the best opportunities for improved wellbeing.
The report assesses levels of happiness across 156 countries and with the UK sitting in 15th place, perhaps things aren’t as bad as we think? However, it does also reveal there are indeed happier places to live.
Here are the top 6 countries which according to this detailed report are home to some of world’s happiest residents.
With a population of over 5.5 million, for another year this northern European country holds the top spot. Finland appears to continue to be ‘the’ place to move to in pursuit of happiness.
But what makes Finland so great?
Finnish society seems to have established an ideal balance where its citizens feel supported. Overall, many of the country’s approaches to common problems such as homelessness are recognised for being progressive and perhaps such innovation is what is needed in an increasingly challenging world.
According to the report, everyday life for the Danish is one that brings high levels of happiness. Might the underpinning welfare model be a contributing factor? Whilst residents do pay higher taxes, they can see the return of them in their healthcare, education and elderly care etc.
The report suggests an intrinsic link between happiness and community and social equality, so this could potentially explain why Denmark ranks so highly. Put simply, it may well just be the Hygge effect.
In third place is one of Europe’s most beautiful countries – Norway. Have you noticed the theme with Nordic countries ranking highly for happiness?
For us Brits this may seem strange, especially as sunshine is something we tend to associate with happiness. Yet, there is a potential theory as to why these colder climates see higher levels of happiness than warmer countries. In fact, there has been much research into the subject which has suggested that colder weather ignites stronger survival mechanisms bringing communities closer together. And as a species wired for social connection, this is an important happiness factor.
In terms of happiness, Iceland comes in at number four. With a small population, free healthcare, low taxes, quality education and surrounded by breath-taking landscape, it’s not difficult to see why Icelandic residents are pretty content.
But mostly, it again appears to be the interconnected and close-knit communities which make individuals living there feel safe, social and thus happy.
The six factors accessed in the report are GDP, social satisfaction, generosity, support, freedom and life expectancy. For the Dutch it appears freedom is an aspect of life they have in abundance, which may well be a contributing factor to why the Netherlands has graduated to fifth place on the happiness scale.
Since these happiness reports began, Switzerland has been slowly dropping down in position with each year. But does one little place really matter?!
With a booming economy, great healthcare, community spirit, gender parity and superb education, Switzerland is likely to continue to rank in many of these kinds of surveys even if they do move around a little – for no other reason than they seem to have many fundamental ingredients in place for happiness to flourish.
The remaining countries in the top 10 hold similar positions to those in 2018 – Sweden in seventh place, New Zealand in eighth, Canada in ninth and Austria in tenth.
If these countries can teach us anything about happiness it is that community matters. So, wherever you decide to emigrate to, it is certainly worth considering making new connections a top priority.