Health, Happiness and the Velocity of Life: Connecting the Dots Around the World2 min read
Our admittedly desultory investigation of comparative health and happiness around the world (Destination Happiness, Healthy Planet Index, and More Happiness Data) has been joined recently by New York Times columnist Nick Kristoff, Freakonomics columnist Justin Wolfers and the staff at Glimpse magazine.
I don’t want to suggest that this line of inquiry is gaining urgency; on the contrary, I think the evidence is mounting that a key component of the health and happiness formula is a more leisurely pace of life. While Kristof and Wolfers highlight education and economic development, respectively, as “drivers” of happiness, the simpler, more fundamental factor may have been captured by Glimpse. Reporters polled their readership (students on international programs) to cull the Top 5 Health Tips From Abroad. Four of these tips clearly put the brakes on the American way of life: 1) Get out of the car, 2) Leave more time to eat, 3) Work less, 4) Nap more. And the examples of this lifestyle come from developed countries such as the Netherlands, Greece, Turkey and Spain.
Kristof taps two other important lines of inquiry we will pursue at our own pace: “environmental performance” and the “gender gap”. When we take the time to soak up our surroundings, it would be nice to find clean air, safe water and an abundance of tolerance. We think we’re starting to connect the dots. Do you think we are on the right track?