A new international survey on happiness has revealed that the current political, social and economic systems are not successfully increasing people’s happiness, despite over half (57.6%) of respondents worldwide considering health and happiness to be the most important factors in their lives
The results of the Global Happiness and Political Attitudes Survey have today been revealed. Conducted in 15 countries across six continents, the results have revealed that people across the world expect their governments to put happiness at the heart of their policies, indicating a departure from the conventional idea that economic prosperity is the key to ensuring voters are happy.
Released ahead of the Yalta European Strategy (YEA) Annual Meeting in Kyiv, this year discussions will focus on governance for happiness being discussed by prominent thinkers and world leaders.
In addition to over half of respondents (57.6%) across the globe considering happiness and health to be the most important factors in their lives, an overwhelming 85.4% said they expect the government to take a proactive role in increasing the happiness of their citizens.
Results revealed that Western European countries and the US were amongst the happiest in the world, however they are also the most pessimistic about the happiness of future generations. The full report is expected to be revealed at the YES Annual Meeting later this month.
Philanthropist Victor Pinchuk, who commissioned the report, said, “Happiness offers a radical political story, one that focuses attention onto the real and concrete issues of people’s lives. It is a compelling new narrative, and a much-needed way to bring people back together in order to fight for a better future.”
Professor of Psychology, Steven Pinker, commented, “For almost a quarter of a millennium, democracies have been grounded in the principle that ‘All people have an unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and to secure these rights, governments are instituted among them.’
“Yet our understanding of what fosters happiness, and how governments can secure the right to pursue it, remains rudimentary. This report sheds light on these questions, and its results will make essential contributions to debates on the future of democracy for years to come.”
These findings come at a time where, arguably, we have never been less happy with our political climate and the future of our country. It was revealed earlier this year that an overwhelming 69% of young people in the UK are concerned about the future of the NHS, with nearly half (46%) struggling to speak with their GP when seeking support with their mental health.
As ongoing concerns around Brexit continue, many have expressed feelings of exhaustion and overwhelm due to the current social and economic climate, with ‘Brexit anxiety’ causing concern for millions.
A survey by the Mental Health Foundation revealed one in 10 have had problems sleeping over the past year due to brexit, whilst nearly one in five have had ‘high levels of stress’ due to current political discourse. Even MPs have been offered mental health support and advice, due to the impact Brexit is having on their health.
As reactions to the latest Brexit developments continue to divide the nation, causing stress, anxiety, and exhaustion all-round, these latest findings serve as a timely reminder that a government that fails to put health, happiness and wellbeing first and foremost, are at risk of losing the support of the masses.