Weekly research roundup: Positive emotions are highest in Latin America

Research roundup

This is a weekly series on the latest happiness research. Learn and be merry! 

It’s been a slow week for happiness news, but luckily Gallup swooped in (on my birthday, no less) with a comprehensive report on positive emotion in the world.

In 2013, Gallup asked about 1,000 adults in 138 countries about their positive experiences the day before. Did they experience lots of enjoyment? Laugh or smile a lot? Feel well-rested? Get treated with respect? Learn or do something interesting?

Those results were compiled into a Positive Experience Index. Latin America came out shining, taking 9 of the top 10 spots alongside Denmark. Latin American has a “cultural tendency . . . to focus on the positives in life,” Gallup explained. 

Syria scored the lowest for any country ever recorded, with 31% of people feeling well-rested or experiencing enjoyment, and only 25% learning or doing something interesting.  

Overall, over 7/10 people worldwide experienced lots of enjoyment, laughed or smiled a lot, felt well-rested, and got treated with respect. 51% learned or did something interesting. 

Here are the scores (not percentages). The average index landed at 71, putting the United States above average: 

Countries with highest positive emotion

Photo by Flickr user Wha’ppen


Weekly research roundup: Australians, 45-year-olds, and techies are happier

happiness research

This is a weekly series on the latest happiness research. Learn and be merry! 

Howdy, mate – Australia was ranked as the happiest industrialized nation in a study by the OECD. This is the fourth year it claimed the title.

40s and fabulous – Middle-aged people (over 45) are the happiest group in the UK, according to a recent study. 60 percent said they were content, which the researchers attribute to strong relationships with friends and family (83 percent).

Becuase I’m geeky – Professionals in the tech industry have the happiest careers, according to a ranking by CareerBliss. The three happiest jobs were Java developer, embedded software engineer, and .NET developer.

Forget good fences: A study in Wales showed that people with neighbors who help each other out had a 42% chance of rating their happiness as a 9 or 10.

Splurge away – Owning luxury items, particularly pens and chocolate, does increase life satisfaction. But simply using them without owning them – just tasting the chocolate? – is associated with lower satisfaction. In other news, French women recently rated chocolate as better than sex.

Close the door on your way out – People with private offices are more satsified at work than people with open-plan offices or cubicles, reported a study from the University of Sydney.

Grab the vacuum – Newlyweds who share chores equally are more likely to stay happily married, reported a study out of the University of Illinois.

Photo by Flickr user St3f4n