80+1 » Happiness http://www.80plus1.org A Journey Around the World Thu, 25 Nov 2010 14:24:05 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.7.1 en hourly 1 Bhutan’s suicide rate jumps http://www.80plus1.org/blog/bhutans-suicide-rate-jumps http://www.80plus1.org/blog/bhutans-suicide-rate-jumps#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2009 14:48:40 +0000 Cyrus Farivar http://www.80plus1.org/?p=2104 The BBC reports in a surprising drop in the country’s overall level of happiness — because after all, three suicides in the last week alone aren’t exactly a great indicator of things.

The news service adds: “The country’s main newspaper, Kuensel, says…

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The BBC reports in a surprising drop in the country’s overall level of happiness — because after all, three suicides in the last week alone aren’t exactly a great indicator of things.

The news service adds: “The country’s main newspaper, Kuensel, says that in January there were 15 suicides and seven in February.”

That’s no good for a country that purports to be the promoter of Gross National Happiness.

So the question is why?

“People tend to commit suicide when they lack the social skills to cope with stress,” psychiatrist DK Nirola told Kuensel [a major Bhutanese newspaper].

He said that old age, unemployment and depression are the most common causes of suicide which is far higher among males than females.
However excessive alcohol consumption, money worries and mental illness are also thought to be significant factors.

[via FP Passport]

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Happiness: voestalpine asks: What’s the next step towards the future? http://www.80plus1.org/next-step/future-happiness http://www.80plus1.org/next-step/future-happiness#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2009 15:51:06 +0000 Admin http://www.80plus1.org/?p=1396 Today, happiness research is a scholarly discipline that intensively examines the preconditions for a happy life. Join our discussion of the next step to a better future, and send us your ideas on the subject of happiness!

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Today, happiness research is a scholarly discipline that intensively examines the preconditions for a happy life. Join our discussion of the next step to a better future, and send us your ideas on the subject of happiness!

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Estonian entrepreneurs create ‘Bank of Happiness’ http://www.80plus1.org/blog/estonian-entrepreneurs-create-bank-of-happiness http://www.80plus1.org/blog/estonian-entrepreneurs-create-bank-of-happiness#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2009 07:21:04 +0000 Cyrus Farivar http://www.80plus1.org/?p=1377 As a way to combat the global economic crisis, a few young Estonians have created the Õnnepank, or “Bank of Happiness,” a new way to get people to help one another out through an online, free bartering system.

The Times…

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As a way to combat the global economic crisis, a few young Estonians have created the Õnnepank, or “Bank of Happiness,” a new way to get people to help one another out through an online, free bartering system.

The Times of London explains:

To become a client, an Estonian must register online, listing the useful things that he can do for others (eg, grocery shopping, walking a dog, fixing cars) and those that he would like done unto him (eg, having a suit darned or windows cleaned). The “bank” — really an internet portal to allow the civic-minded across Estonia to network altruistically with each other — will formally open for business in May. Professor Martin Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, calls it “a creative idea, worth following closely”.

When I first heard about this, I wasn’t really clear on the need for a website to provide something for free like this, but I suppose it makes sense. The Times continues:

The Bank of Happiness is not necessarily peddling reciprocation — a teenager might fetch a weekly shop for an elderly neighbour, even if the neighbour would be unable to do much in return. Instead, a stranger who has seen the good deed listed by the neighbour online will step in to help the teenager.

The bank is hoping to create virtuous arcs, rather than circles, of unadulterated altruism all over Estonia, with the feeling of goodness serving as its own reward. The helper also receives tangible evidence of his kindness: a “banknote” — printable from the bank’s website — offered by the grateful recipient in lieu of money, inscribed on the back with the date and nature of the deed. The note can then be passed on to another good Samaritan. And there is no system of equations to codify how one deed compares with another; the system will be self-regulatory.

Õnnepank’s founders are Tiina Urm and Rainer Nõlvak, the masterminds behind Estonia’s national cleanup day in 2008 — Teeme ära — where tens of thousands of volunteers gathered together all around Estonia to cleanup massive trash piles and to change people’s mentality of how to remember to keep the country clean.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this project — those Estonians come up with all kinds of awesomely wacky ideas!

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Gross National Happiness moves from idea to theory http://www.80plus1.org/blog/gross-national-happiness-moves-from-idea-to-theory http://www.80plus1.org/blog/gross-national-happiness-moves-from-idea-to-theory#comments Fri, 22 May 2009 20:00:59 +0000 Cyrus Farivar http://www.80plus1.org/?p=1031 In a recent trip to Thimphu, New York Times reporter Seth Mydans spent some time with Kinley Dorji, Bhutan’s secretary of information and communications.

Bhutan, of course, is known around the world for its king’s suggestion in the 1970s to pursue “gross…

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In a recent trip to Thimphu, New York Times reporter Seth Mydans spent some time with Kinley Dorji, Bhutan’s secretary of information and communications.

Bhutan, of course, is known around the world for its king’s suggestion in the 1970s to pursue “gross national happiness.”

However, these days, this utopian ideal is turning into measurable, quantifiable, political science.

Bhutan, of course, is a tiny, mountainous country of 700,000 people wedged between India and China, and is famous for its isolation. It only allowed television in the country in 1999.

Dorji told the Times: “Bhutan’s story today is, in one word, survival. Gross national happiness is survival; how to counter a threat to survival.”

So as a way to stay relevant, Bhutan produced a complex model of happiness, which features the four pillars, the nine domains and the 72 indicators of happiness.

Reports the Times:

Specifically, the government has determined that the four pillars of a happy society involve the economy, culture, the environment and good governance. It breaks these into nine domains: psychological well-being, ecology, health, education, culture, living standards, time use, community vitality and good governance, each with its own weighted and unweighted G.N.H. index.

All of this is to be analyzed using the 72 indicators. Under the domain of psychological well-being, for example, indicators include the frequencies of prayer and meditation and of feelings of selfishness, jealousy, calm, compassion, generosity and frustration as well as suicidal thoughts.

“We are even breaking down the time of day: how much time a person spends with family, at work and so on,” Mr. Dorji said.

How long before Gretchen Rubin and the Bhutanese get together to build a Facebook application to determine happiness?

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Happiness http://www.80plus1.org/topics/happiness http://www.80plus1.org/topics/happiness#comments Mon, 06 Apr 2009 17:27:33 +0000 Cyrus Farivar http://90.146.8.9/80plus1/2009/04/happinessgluck/ Given the state of the world today, it’s tempting to keep our journey focused on the enormous problems and challenges that confront us. But we equally believed that it’s important to balance the serious with things on the lighter side.…

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Given the state of the world today, it’s tempting to keep our journey focused on the enormous problems and challenges that confront us. But we equally believed that it’s important to balance the serious with things on the lighter side. Additionally, today happiness is considered a science, with a great deal of research toward understanding deeper issues. Our exploration of Happiness will take us both places.

How Wikipedia around the World defines Happiness (add your language)

English: Happiness is a state of mind or feeling such as contentment, satisfaction, pleasure, or joy.

Spanish: Happiness is a positive and pleasing state of mind for the person who possesses it, possibly a result of neural activity in which internal and external factors interact to stimulate the limbic system.

Chinese (幸福): Happiness may have the following meanings:
- Happiness, a psychological state, provoked by the satisfaction of spiritual and material needs
- marital happiness
- No shame, loneliness, childlessness
- Fortune Estate (Hongkong)
- Happiness Online, Online role play
- Music album

German: Happiness as the fulfillment of human wishes and aspirations is a very broad notion which includes the momentaneous feeling of happiness as well as the persistent beatitude, but which also can be an external event, as a happy coincidence or a reversal of fortune leading to a happy life.

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