HPI and happiness

I think about life a lot. Sometimes I probably think about it too often. 

Like why are we here? What is our purpose? These questions will never be answered, at least not during this particular lifetime. One thing that is certain though is happiness. We are put on this Earth with a mission; make the most of everything and to be happy.

Something that occurs to me when thinking about happiness is the ‘Happy Planet Index’. The Happy Planet Index (or HPI) is a survey completed every year which aims to determine the happiest country on the planet (much as the name suggests). The survey focuses on a number of things including life expectancy, experienced well-being and the ecological footprint of the country. This year, the number one place went to Costa Rica, closely followed by Vietnam. Out of the 151 countries that were a part of the survey, Australia came in at number 76, just behind Romania and just before Iran.

Costa Rica, which translates to “rich coast”, is an obvious choice for the number one place. Awarded the “greenest country in the world” award back in 2009, and with plans to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021, it’s no wonder that it did so well in the HPI. A part of me honestly wonders why Australia came so far down on the list but I suppose that when you think about it, everything does make sense. We’re not making enough of an effort to be cheerful.

I see these results as a reality check and in some ways a challenge. It shows me that we have the potential to be better than we actually are. We have the potential to be happier and to lead better lives. I think that everyone should make an individual effort to improve their lives. Some have it tougher than others but I’d say that there are aspects in everyone’s life that they can improve. Yet never forget the great things that should not be changed even in the slightest.

What I’m saying is we shouldn’t let the little things hold us back. We need to accept that somethings are less than ideal. If we can accept this, we’ll be able to focus more closely on the good, on the light that is always there, should we choose to follow it. Because who knows where it might take us…

Annie Phemister is a regular contributor to our Young Viewpoint column.

Annie Phemister is a regular contributor to our Young Viewpoint column.