Are you happy? Really happy?
If you are from Denmark, you probably are happier than citizens of other countries.
Recently, the University of British Columbia complied its annual happiness report, and the Danes took the lead in the world.
“The top countries generally rank higher in all six of the key factors identified in the World Happiness Report,” economics professor John Helliwell wrote. “Together, these six factors explain three quarters of differences in life evaluations across hundreds of countries and over the years.”
Those factors are: A large GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy at birth, lack of corruption in leadership, a sense of social support, freedom to make life choices and a culture of generosity.
“There is now a rising worldwide demand that policy be more closely aligned with what really matters to people as they themselves characterize their well-being,” economist Jeffrey Sachs wrote in a statement when the report was released.
So the United States is No. 2? Nope. Top 10? Not a chance.
Seventeenth. Why are we so unhappy?
“Many Americans seem to be addicted to more, sooner,” Dr. Mark Golston writes for The Huffington Post. “That can lead to feeling that at any given time, no matter what they have, they always want more. And no matter how quickly they get it, they always want it sooner.
“If you think that is too simplistic, how many Americans do you know that are happy, or even OK with having less, later?”
Get rich quick. Miracle cure. Instant.
Let’s put it this way. In 2012, $20 billion was spent by consumers on diets, from books to DVDs to weight-loss foods and supplements. That’s billion with a “B” instead of increased exercise and decreased caloric intake. We want it now instead of putting the work in.
Look at it another way. Americans spend $650,000 per day on bonuses and cheats for the popular app Candy Crush Saga. Can’t pass a level? Buy your way to the next one.
Maybe it’s that drive for more immediately that makes us unhappy. Maybe it is something else. Last week we took the question to our readers, the ones who log on each week to www.timeswv.com to vote in our weekly poll question. Last week we asked “In a recent report, the United States was ranked No. 17 when it comes to happiness. What do you think makes us so unhappy?”
And here’s what you had to say:
• Relationships — 7.89 percent.
• Keeping up with the Joneses — 19.3 percent.
• Always wanting more — 33.33 percent.
• Finances — 39.47 percent.
Since most of the things that cause us so much worry and unhappiness are fleeting, for the most part, perhaps we should take a little advice from the music legend Bob Marley. “Don’t worry about a thing because every little thing is going to be alright.”
This week, let’s look at the controversial issue of medicinal marijuana. Do you think it should be legalized in the Mountain State?
Log on. Vote. Email me or respond online.
Are you happy? Really happy?
Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition
Coal already has a bad name in Washington, D.C.
The whole industry got another black eye this week when Alpha Natural Resources Inc., one of the country’s largest coal producers, agreed to pay a $27.5 million fine and invest $200 million to reduce illegal water pollution in five states, including West Virginia.
Being observant, reporting suspicions can make difference for hurting children
If a child is hurting, we wouldn’t hesitate to help.
Or would we?
In a five-year span, 22,830 children were victims of some type of neglect or abuse in West Virginia. That’s an overwhelming number to think about.
Gee makes major impact and earns another term as WVU president
Let’s imagine that a graduate from West Virginia University in the early 1980s, when E. Gordon Gee was president, came back to get an extra degree now and couldn’t believe that E. Gordon Gee is “still” the president of WVU.
Effort to encourage purchase of goods produced in U.S. deserves support
The concept of encouraging the purchase of American-made products is certainly not new.
On the federal level, the Buy American Act was passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Herbert Hoover. It required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases.
‘Stop Meth, Not Meds’ backed by readers
In West Virginia, there is something referred to as “stop-sale technology” that prevents a person from going to more than one pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter medication that contains the active ingredient pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant.
It’s not an issue of stuffy noses that lawmakers were worried about when they created the system.
Even small steps play part in critical mission to reduce childhood obesity
Just two years ago, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, meaning they had excess body weight based on their height.
It’s a troubling statistic, and one that health officials have worked diligently to reverse.
Cutting-edge heart procedure at Mon General is saving lives
“I used to think I wouldn’t live to be 50. Well, I made it to 50 and then some,” Pearl Walls said.
Walls is likely alive today and able to tell her story to the Times West Virginian because of a cutting-edge procedure performed at Monongalia General Hospital — a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which was only approved for use by the FDA in 2011.
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ many works, magic words
You know his words.
You know them well.
Funds donated to United Way make community healthier, happier, safer place
A dollar you give to the United Way of Marion County could feed a hungry family.
That dollar could protect a woman and her children from an abuser.
Or the dollar could mean that a family receives credit counseling to lift them out of overwhelming debt.
It could fund Scouting programs, where boys and girls learn lifelong lessons.
Project Launchpad puts critical concept of diversifying state economy into play
The case for diversifying the state of West Virginia’s economy is past the point of debate.
While it is our hope that coal can continue to have a role in our nation’s power-generating matrix, we’ve learned our lesson about over-dependence on a single industry. Particularly being overly dependent on an industry that, in the eyes of federal regulators, is out of fashion.
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- Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition