Did You Know | Health

3 Secrets To Happiness, From The World's Happiest Country (Sorry, It's Not America)

Conger Design - Pixabay / Jost Riedel - Wikimedia

How are you feeling today?

If you live in America, it's likely that you didn't answer "happy," according to a new poll.

Researchers at Gallup surveyed more than 150,000 people in over 140 countries, then ranked those countries by happiness.

And while the world's happiest country may surprise you, we could all learn a thing or two from them.

Everyone Is Feeling The Blues

Sadly, the global trend this year seems to be that the entire world is down in the dumps, and could use a nice vacation.

"Collectively, the world is more stressed, worried, sad and in pain today than we’ve ever seen it," wrote Gallup editor Mohamed Younis.

"Overall, worry and stress levels increased two percentage points from the previous year, while sadness and physical pain were each up one point."

Americans are (thankfully) not dead last on the happiness list, but we do have plenty of room for improvement.

Almost half of Americans say they feel stressed, and 40% are worried.

But the good news is that 92% of us feel we are treated with respect, and we also report plenty of smiling, laughing, and enjoying life.

Still, our country ranks alongside the Central African Republic in terms of overall happiness. And that country was dubbed the world's "most negative" by Gallup.

Only war torn countries, and places where people live in extreme poverty, ranked lower on the list. Countries like Yemen and Afghanistan came last.

Paraguay Feels 'Muy Bien'

Most of the countries at the top of the list are found in Latin America, with Paraguay nabbing the top spot this year.

So what's their secret?

"The high percentages reporting positive emotions in Latin America at least partly reflects the cultural tendency in the region to focus on life’s positives," Gallup wrote.

"The only countries outside this region that top this list are Canada, Iceland, Indonesia and Uzbekistan."

But don't let the survey's results get you down, because they may actually reveal the key to living a happier life.

Researchers in each country asked 1,000 people questions about how well-rested they felt, whether they were treated with respect, and if they smiled or laughed.

They also asked if they learned something new yesterday, a question less than half of adults around the world said "yes" to.

At the same time, they checked if people were feeling physical pain, sadness, stress, or anger to offset the positive results.

3 Secrets To Happiness

A Good Night's Rest

What's the one thing everyone doesn't have enough of? If you said "money," you're wrong.

One researcher explained that earning an additional $60,000 each year will not make you happier than getting an extra hour of sleep each night.

It's simple: being sleep-deprived floods your body with stress hormones. Those hormones cause insomnia, which leads to anxiety disorders. And having an anxiety disorder also causes insomnia.

Get the picture?

Positive Thinking

You may be thinking, "What have I got to smile about?"

In fact, you don't need a reason to smile in the first place, since smiling has its own health benefits.

Surprising research shows making a smile - even when you're feeling down - seems to naturally boost your mood.

Women who could not frown because of Botox injections reported feeling happier than women who could frown.

Similarly, smiling (or at least not frowning) through an unpleasant experience seems to help control negative emotions.

Learning Something New Every Day

Vanessa King, a psychology expert with Action for Happiness, says that learning helps "build confidence" and is an easy way of "connecting with others."

Like happiness, continuing to educate yourself throughout life is a strong predictor of good health and a long life.

In short, learning is way of keeping engaged with the world around you, which naturally makes you happier.

[H/T: Today]

Were you surprised to learn Paraguay is the happiest country? Do you feel happy every day?

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com