The Geography of Happiness- Part 2

Written by Andrea

world mapIn my last post I talked about an amazing book I read while traveling on my Eastern Europe Adventure called, The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World.

I wanted to share some insight and ideas from the book about happiness and the search for the Good Life.

Seemed very appropriate for those of us living through a Quarter Life Crisis, since travel and moving are re-occurring themes.

Excerpts from The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World

  1. “We create our own happiness and the first step in creating is imagining.”
  2. People who live in Iceland have the right mentality, in that no matter how bleak life seems, things will always work out. I like that theory.
  3. Some cultures are collectivist, while some (like America) are individualistic. Collectivist are happier than individualists cultures. Go figure.
  4. “Happiness and unhappiness are not opposite sides of the coin. They are two different coins.” Think about that the next time you are unhappy.
  5. Happiness is a choice.
  6. “Helping others makes us feel good.”  As humans we are programed to help others, it makes us happy. So maybe if you are unhappy, try helping someone in need.
  7. “People are not likely to be happy if they don’t have control over their lives.”
  8. I think this line was written specifically for me, ” Happy people have no reason to think; they live rather than question living.” Thinking about happiness makes us LESS happy.
  9. “Add up all the pleasurable aspects of your life, then subtract the unpleasant ones. The result is your overall happiness.”
  10. “The worlds happiest nations tend to be the most ethnically homogeneous.”
  11. Americans hate unpredictability, while some cultures thrive off it and are happy because of it.
  12. Love is higher than happiness.
  13. Ambition may sabotage happiness. If you constantly are striving to reach some extraordinary level of happiness, you will strive your entire life.
  14. “America’s current fixation with finding happiness coincides with an era of unprecedented material prosperity.”
  15. We as Americans are less happy than we were 50 years ago. Which is ironic because compared to many countries we have access to different things that could make us happy, where most cultures do not.
  16. Some Americans move because they think it will make them happier, however, people give themselves permission to be different in different geographic regions so moving may not necessarily be the answer.
  17. “We may be fairly happy now but there’s always tomorrow and the prospect of a happier place. We can’t love a place or a person though if we have one foot out the door.”

*Spoiler Alert: If you plan on reading this book DO NOT read the next paragraph!!

In the Epilogue of the book, Weiner summarizes and says: “Money matters, but less than we think and not in the way we think. Family is important. So are friends. Envy is toxic. So is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude.”

I want to know what is your happiest geographic place and why? Are you there right now? Why or why not? What do you think about geography, travel and happiness?

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