Are you happy?

There was a piece in the Saturday Globe and Mail about the recently released World Happiness Report 2012.

Turns out the Danes are the happiest.

Canada came 5th (with a nod to Quebeckers who boost our score).

I have been stumbling across a lot of work on happiness in my readings on wellbeing.  We are launching a community-level wellbeing initiative in Guelph (in fact there are several emerging wellness initiatives underway in Guelph and in the region).

The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan established the Gross National Happiness index several years ago. This seems to have sparked a number of initiatives around the world to measure the “happiness” or “wellbeing” of individuals, organizations, neighbourhoods, communities, and countries.

Wellbeing or happiness?

Both terms are used, sometimes interchangeably. There seems to be a preference for “wellbeing”.  One reason provided is it sounds less flaky (although that did not deter UBC economics professor, John Helliwel, one of the authors of the World Happiness Report).  Another reason is that wellbeing is a more broad term and includes the concept of resilience and the ability to function well.  It might also be easier to contemplate the wellbeing of an organization, community or country than their happiness.

Perhaps the one statement I have read that resonated the most strongly with me was that “measurement only matters if it actually changes policy decisions and triggers change that actually makes people’s lives better”.

This is good advice as we move forward with the Community WellBeing Initiative.


About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

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