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?
Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated
Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.
Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives
A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.
State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary
Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better
When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.
COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable
That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!
Decision to be an organ donor can save lives
Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.
Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community
Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
Marion County is full of volunteers.
They read to our youth.
They assist nonprofit agencies.
They serve on boards and committees.
And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.
Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law
West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.
Strong Fairmont General Hospital badly needed to serve our region
Mere minutes often matter when it comes to emergency health care.
That’s why we need a strong Fairmont General Hospital.
When patients need the services of health-care professionals, having family and friends close at hand is often essential, and their presence may even lead to a better outcome.
COLUMN: Fairmont General Hospital vital part of community
There’s nothing better than holding a newborn baby. It gives you a little feeling that not only is everything right in the world, but this perfect little human represents hope of a future where things will be better than they are today.
I had that blessed opportunity to hold that hopeful future in my arms last week when I visited my dear friend Jen and her newborn son Tristan at Fairmont General Hospital.
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- Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated