Wow! Here’s some surprising news.
A brand new Gallup Poll finds that 59.2% of Americans say they're thriving.
The poll also reveals that 73% of Americans say they experienced enjoyment for a lot of the previous day. That 59.2% mark is the highest rating Gallup has ever recorded on the measure, and 73% is the highest grade since the coronavirus pandemic began early last year.
I’ll say it again: wow!
Now, why do I find this surprising? Well, let’s start with the fact that I’m a Happiness Expert, so designated by the renowned Dr. Christine Carter of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, California. When she and I talked for my book “Why Being Happy Matters” (revised version coming out soon from my new publisher with expanded information and re-named “A Guide To Happiness”), she let me in on the Annual World Happiness Report, also compiled by Gallup. It measures and ranks the happiest countries in the world based on specific criteria. Know who the happiest country is this year? Finland. Yup, li’l old Finland. And get this: they are #1 for the third year in a row!
Now, the U.S. is… down at #14. And that’s why I’m surprised at these new data points because they sure don’t gel with the World Happiness Report.
But I may just have figured out what’s going on here. I think it’s all about community.
You see, one thing I learned in researching happiness and talking to several PhDs studying positive psychology, is that community – or the lack of it – has been signaled as a principal reason some countries just do not poll higher in happiness. As well as being why countries like Finland that thrive on community are happy.
Now, let’s consider that if there is any upside to the Covid 19 pandemic at all, it’s that it’s brought us closer together. The essence of community has enjoyed a real upswing.
Families have hunkered down. Friends have devoted time to checking up on each other. Relatives have expressed concern.
In his book “Bowling Alone”, Dr. Robert Putnam of the JFK School at Harvard University, writes, “We used to be joiners, now we’re not. We don’t embrace bowling leagues the way we used to. Church attendance is off. Book clubs, investment clubs and other gatherings of people into ‘communities’ have lost their allure as we replace pleasant pastimes with helter-skelter lives aimed at achieving things, not enjoying things. The simple act of joining and being regularly involved in organized groups has a very significant, positive impact on individual health, well-being, and happiness.”
So that’s it: with a newfound commitment to community to ride out the pandemic. Americans are rediscovering joy. And that’s lead people to “thrive” and experience more enjoyment than before.
Let’s see if we can’t sustain this.
BTW, if you wish more information about my book on happiness, just visit aguidetohappiness.life