Monday, October 10, 2005

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

Who are the world's happiest people?

30,000 people in 30 countries answered happiness questions posed by GfK NOP, a market research company. Australia was the most cheerful nation, with 46% of the population saying they were very happy. 40% of Americans saying they are happy claim the second spot. Egyptians are the third jolliest folks on the planet and those wacky Indians are number four. The United Kingdom and Canada share the fifth happiest spot. Dead last as the least cheerful, but #1 amongst the morose, are the Hungarians.

One in three Britons is "very happy" with the quality of life in London (two in three think the quality of life in London sucks) and "just 7% are disappointed with how their lives have turned out." Additionally, the survey found that even though 33% to 46% of people in the 5 happiest countries say they are very happy, people "in their 50s were the most downbeat, regardless of which country they were from."

Lord Layard, founder-director of the LSE Centre for Economic Perfomance, reveals in a totally different survey, that Brits are happiest at 10 PM and least happy at 8 AM. Layard also suggests a few policy measures intended both to encourage happiness and reduce unhappiness such as encouraging unemployed people to work rather than draw unemployment benefits, providing widely available mental-health services, and taxing rich people at higher levels to reduce envy among the middle-income. (OK, he gets two out of three right.) Though Layard suggests that even though money can't buy happiness the magic number $15,000 per year keeps a heap of unhappy from ones doorstep.

On the flip side of happy, media heiress Patty Hearst has a message for folks worried about terrorist attacks: Stop wringing your hands, people!

"I was kidnapped by terrorists. It's not like I'm numb to this and think it can't happen. But get real!" Hearst admonished. "There's so much weeping and wailing and memorializing, my feeling is it'd be a lot healthier if people didn't externalize so much and kind of bucked up a little bit."

The Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped media heiress Patricia Hearst, in 1974. She fell in with her kidnappers taking part in bank robberies and shootouts. She was arrested, tried, and sentenced to 21 years in prison. Hearst was later pardoned by President Clinton.

Having survived to 51, Hearst says, "We are a nation with the most frightened people on the planet. People who come over here just laugh at us." The tabloid celebrity culture "has reached a ludicrous level," she added. "How many times can you look up someone's skirt and think it's fascinating?"

If it weren't for the terror factor, we Yanks would have easily creamed the Aussies as the happiest people on earth. Hell, we have the happiest place on earth, it would only be reasonable. And with fellow citizen comedians like Patty, how could we not be happy?

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.


Don said...

Hey Indy you wouldn't happen to know where Portugal came in on that poll would you?

Indigo Red said...

I think, Don, that Sofocleto is in a catagory all to himself. My friend Claudio, also in Portugal, is a very sensible individual.

dcat said...

:) I'm happy :)


Sylvana said...

I met some people from Hungary, they are definitely not happy looking. They are probably the most serious looking people that I have ever met. But they still know how to throw back a few and have a good time!

Indigo Red said...

Well, Sylvana, I am Hungarian and I have been to Budapest. It was grim, but indoors, oh boy, can they party!

Indigo Red said...

And dcat...we know you are happy...goodness golly, we know!