What is happiness for you?

Our news in Germany last night was all about a study that has revealed that Germans are happier than they have been in 10 years, especially in the north….. dispelling the myth that the Bavarians in the south are the happiest of all!

Factors involved were, of course, money, but more than that health, partnerships, jobs and friends. An interesting point, however, was that the ability to forgive makes people happier, and apparently a person from Hamburg for example is better at that than a Bavarian… There are many differences between north Germans and Bavarians, but I hadn’t heard that one before!

The study reminded me of an article I read recently by Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, about the policy of promoting “gross national happiness” in the small Himalayan state of Bhutan. How is happiness measured there? Peter Singer says that

“it is not clear whether people’s answers to survey questions in different languages and in different cultures really mean the same thing”.

 So perhaps that is also the case between the north and south of Germany…. Just a thought.

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