AUTHOR: CLAIRE BAUMANN
While much of the world’s rhetoric currently centers on fear, global leaders, influencers and policymakers are convening in Dubai this week to talk about happiness. Specifically, how can governments incorporate and factor for happiness in their policies the same way they do for Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Happiness has emerged on the global development stage—so much so that this year’s World Government Summit, held in Dubai February 12-14, opened with a full-day precursor focused on the human emotion.
An array of global speakers—from Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay to the UAE’s Minister for Happiness Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi—noted how they were prioritizing happiness in their own countries. Her Excellency Al Roumi underscored the need for a policy on happiness, citing the World Health Organization’s recent findings that depression will be one of three main global diseases by 2030. With those figures, it’s no surprise that UNDP Administrator Helen Clark noted the global community is starting to incorporate mental health into discussions surrounding development.
If countries are making this most cherished human emotion a priority, what can you do as an individual to scale up your own happiness? We sat down with expert Dan Buettner to discover the basic tenets for finding happiness:
- The harder people try to be happy, the less happy they are.
- Altruism is as addictive as crack cocaine and sugar.
- More than three hours of social media a day will make you increasingly less happy. Stick to 30 minutes to one hour. It allows people to check in and still have authentic, real-life experiences.
- Happiness is about letting longevity ensue, instead of it being something that is pursued. This suggests that it’s all about environment, and not specifically when people set a goal to get healthy, or happy.
- Live to over 100 years. This is the happiest cohort of people.
Blowing 101 birthday cake candles out in the future? No problem. Reducing social media consumption a day may be the greater challenge.