A group of Danish women enjoy water aerobics.
PHOTO: SOFIA BUSK
Denmark, Costa Rica and New Zealand stand out as three countries that are getting something right when it comes to maintaining the health and happiness of their citizens.
Case studies show that effectively delivering services at the community level, cultivating social trust, and accounting for well-being at the highest policy level all play an important role.
Living amid the despair caused by a global pandemic has taught us that happiness, as we know it in its many forms, is important for the functioning of societies.
“I’m with Aristotle on this one. Happiness, or a thriving life—or as the ancient Greeks called it, eudaimonia—is the summum bonum, the highest good,” says Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs, who coauthors the annual World Happiness Report, which ranks countries based on life evaluation surveys. “Happiness does not mean pleasure, or emotional highs, but rather a life well lived.”