“The most important thing is to enjoy your life-to be happy-it’s all that matters.”~~ Audrey Hepburn
Lately, the Happiness Index is being spoken about very frequently. Many opinions support it as a better indicator of growth than the prosperity/GDP etc. Finland is the happiest country in the world followed by Denmark, Norway, Iceland and the Netherlands holds the next top positions, as per the 2019 Happiness Index.
India was ranked at a dismal 144 as the United Nations released its latest World Happiness Report. A total of 156 nations were surveyed. India scored 3.573 points, ranking lower than Pakistan, which secured 5.693 points, ranking 66 out of all the countries surveyed. Mar 21, 2020
The question is, what does Happiness Index mean?
“Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness.” ~~ Ayn Rand
It is not just an Index, but also a development philosophy used to measure the collective happiness in a nation. The Happiness index, as a concept, was first used in Bhutan. It uses parameters like Housing, Income, Work, Community, Civic Engagement, Education, Environment, Health, Life Satisfaction, Safety, and Life-Work balance.
In 1979 the then king of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, said in an interview: “We do not believe in Gross National Product. Gross National Happiness is more important.” That is how the term ‘Happiness Index’ was coined. The concept of GNH has often been explained by its four pillars: good governance, sustainable socio-economic development, cultural preservation, and environmental conservation and to create a widespread understanding of GNH and to reflect the holistic range of GNH values. Lately, these four pillars have been classified further into nine domains as have been classified further into nine domains as psychological wellbeing, health, education, time use, cultural diversity and resilience, good governance, community vitality, resilience factor, and ecological diversity.
A lot of reports stating these indicators and their indicative values for different countries are available easily. So I would not go that direction but would instead point out that the income or what we have commonly known as the standard of living isn’t primarily the basis of the Happiness Index. It is more about the Quality of life, which includes the built environment, physical and mental health, education, recreation and leisure time, and social belonging as the standard indicators along with wealth and employment.