Happiness Tips from the Happiest Countries in the World

Posted on - in Culture & Communication
people sitting on glacier

Even the United Nations has realized happiness is an essential ingredient to a person’s quality of life. Have you ever wondered why people in some places seem so happy while others seem to just be getting by?

Keep reading and learn some suggestions from countries that have been ranked among the world’s happiest places. After adopting some of these lifestyle habits, you may find your existence is more content too, even if you live in a place not known for having a nation of smiling faces.

Make Time for a Good Meal

In Denmark, it’s traditional for families to dine by candlelight, not only enjoying each other’s company, but also feasting on good food. Places like the United States often have very fast-paced ideals, and that often means missing out on things like sitting down around the table to eat. It’s a better choice than eating on the run.

Thrive on a Community Culture

It wouldn’t be surprising if most of your goals are related to things that are personally gratifying and don’t take other people into account. After all, that’s the way many people live. In Iceland, however, the community spirit is a rich part of life there. Residents learn they aren’t really part of something great unless other people benefit from it, too.

To start embracing that mindset, think about volunteering for a cause that matters to you and experiencing how good it feels to be a part of something that works towards the greater good.

Marvel at Natural Beauty

Guatemala was once ravaged by a civil war, and still, the way of life there is much different from places like the United States. Perhaps that’s because Guatemala is a place that features great natural beauty, and even Mayan ruins. Take inspiration from the Guatemalans and learn to love the world around you.

Be Kind to the Planet

People in Nicaragua have learned to live in a way that generates a very small ecological footprint. Start doing that in your own life in some tiny but meaningful way, whether that means getting your produce from a local farmers market rather than sent to you from across the country, or recycling things more regularly.

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Focus on Your Family

In places like the United States, people often work for 40 hours a week or more, which might lead to a nice paycheck, but leaves very little time to spend with family.

Iceland, which consistently ranks as one of the happiest places in the world, gives nine months of leave to both fathers and mothers who are welcoming a new addition to the family. Your workplace probably doesn’t offer that perk, but you can do your part by keeping your workload as manageable as possible and turning down overtime hours if they are offered.

Know When to Celebrate

Panama has extremes of wealth and poverty, but it also ranks very highly in terms of happiness. It’s a place known for its celebratory atmosphere and many festivals. Get inspired by this festive spirit and remember to create time for celebrations when they’re warranted.

Let Go of Your Worries

This tip may seem like a tough one, especially when pressures are mounting. However, in Jamaica, an island nation that is one of the happiest places on earth, the residents exhibit a carefree vibe that suggests even if problems crop up, they aren’t overpowering.

Embrace Diversity

Belize has a multicultural population made up of European, Creole, Mayan and Hispanic groups, among others. That diversity is one reason why many believe the people who live there are so happy.

Take it upon yourself to learn about other cultures through interactions with them whenever possible. You may just find yourself feeling more uplifted too.

Start Eating Better

People who live in Iceland sustain themselves on things like freshly caught fish and produce that’s grown without pesticides. Diet is something you cannot change overnight, but try doing a few gradual things to start eating better. Those efforts could lead to better health, not to mention more happiness.

Hopefully this list of how to live like people from the happiest countries in the world will give you pointers of how to start making your own improvements, or at least reshaping your perspective of what causes happiness.

*This post was updated 12/22/2014

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Kayla Matthews writes Productivity Theory and is constantly seeking to provide new tips and hacks to keep you motivated and inspired! You can also find her on Huffington Post and Tiny Buddha, and follow her on Google+ and Twitter to stay up to date on her latest productivity posts!


  1. Karen Martínez P.

    Actually, Panama isn’t a poor country. There’s a gap between really rich and poor people but we have a wealthy country with the Panama Canal and our free-trade area.

    You’re right about festivals, though. It’s funny because we love celebrating even the tinniest things, especially in football xD

    5 years ago
    • Kayla Matthews

      Thanks for bringing my attention to that, Karen! I really apprecite your insights and have edited the post to better reflect your experiences in Panama. =) Thanks for reading!


      5 years ago

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