The world has gone happy

Why? Is it because we’re really miserable, and need to put on a good face? Or is it an eternal quest as part of human nature to seek that which sometimes seems elusive, unattainable or semi-permanent?

I certainly don’t have those answers, but I have found more resources that measure and meter happiness.

Next week, November 7 through 13 2010 is Pursuit of Happiness Week. I’ve covered happiness on an overall country by country basis in Come on – get happy and as quantifiable in Happy happy, joy joy. With the help of a new-found website and app, now we can examine happiness on the planetary and personal levels.

If you’ve followed the curious g, you know too well my affection for Bhutan. The country’s philosophy of development is to support and nurture the spiritual and social needs of the community.

Bhutan’s “Gross National Happiness” philosophy is made up of four pillars:

  • Sustainable and equitable socio-economic development;
  • Preservation and promotion of culture;
  • Promotion of good governance; and
  • Conservation of environment.

Many countries see Bhutan’s philosophy as worthwhile and are adapting it for their own cultures. Here’s a happiness meter based on those pillars.

Planetary Happiness

One for all: The Happy Planet Index measures the way nations convert the planet’s natural resources for contributions to long, happy lives for their people. Check out the infographic happy maps.

happiness measurements, Happy Planet Index, mapping planetary happiness, finding personal happiness, LiveHappy, Bhutan, four pillars of happiness

Personal happiness

One for one: Sonja Lyubomirsky, Professor of Psychology at the University of California, describes happiness as a combination of “positive emotions” and a feeling that “life is good.” She points out four important features in her book The How of Happiness:

  • Happiness is worth pursuing;
  • 50% of our happiness is genetically determined;
  • 10% is guided by the circumstances;
  • 40% is in our hands.

Big responsibility, that 40%. You can determine how well you manage and measure that 40% with the iPhone app “Live Happy,” based on Dr Lyubomirsky’s book. It is on sale for $.99 in the iTunes store. Talk is cheap, apparently the secret to living happy is as well.

happiness measurements, Happy Planet Index, mapping planetary happiness, finding personal happiness, Live Happy, Bhutan, four pillars of happiness

And just in case, those new sites aren’t enough to satisfy your happy side: You can be metered daily to check your moment-to-moment mood via Mappiness, and there’s the World Database of Happiness for exploring anything that I, or anyone else, has left out.

I hope your smiling by now. Are you?

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