Posts Tagged ‘Happiness’

This game of happiness.

March 19, 2022

IMG_0637 new home

It is that time of the year again when the world’s happiest country contest is on. And guess what; Finland has for the fifth time been chosen by the best of experts in all facets of life ‘the happiest country’ I am somewhat biased having been married to a great and lovely Finnish woman and having lived in rural Finland for almost a year. I was then already totally convinced it was a happy country with a happy population. I never thought it would be voted the happiest.

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/03/18/finland-named-the-worlds-happiest-for-the-fifth-year-in-a-row.html.

Back in 1965/66 when living in Finland I thought it refreshing that it seemed such a free country with the emphasis on things to look good and natural. A stunning mixture of both outside and inside the homes often so seamless, almost effortless. It’s architecture mind-blowingly beautiful without artifice or unnecessary florid decorations for the sake of decorations. In the homes and gardens no ducks in endless flight on the walls or tires around the gardenias’. The university that my wife attended designed by Alvar Aalto, blew my mind in its honesty of design and simplicity. Finland was the forgotten corner of Europe. Not anymore now though.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvar_Aalto

The rapport on this yearly happiness contest measures all sorts of criteria but free education, including colleges and universities, and free medical care seems to be the foundations on which much of the happiness of people depend. A mother with a newborn has 480 days maternity leave with 80% of her salary paid and dad gets 6 weeks with full pay. Every new born gets the ‘famous box’ in which there are the basic needs for baby and in which the new-born can also sleep.

https://www.dailyfinland.fi/national/24868/Kela-unveils-43-item-baby-box-for-2022

I always thought happiness and the search for it was overrated. In the video of the Happiest Country a man describes feelings of ‘gladness’ more appropriate. I think that in Australia we tend to forget that we have eyes. How else can we explain the horrendous ugliness of our shopping strips, the mindless repetitive advertisements and why al those car yards littering the main thoroughfares?

I live in The Southern Highlands considered to be a very beautiful part of Australia with lovely gardens, yet, in one of the main thoroughfares we blissfully allow kilometers of car-yards to advertise their cars, bonnets yawning wide open and garnished with signage of ‘specials’ to attract who?

We seem to underestimate how our eyes can influence happiness. We need beauty as much as we need a nice sausage or piece of salmon. When I wake up and see my nice bedroom, nice bedspread, beautiful paintings, a lovely wooden desk with a nice rush-chair, I feel happy before I jump out of my bed. The kitchen has nice saucepans, lovely well designed cutlery, great coffee pot. I feel good before I even boil the kettle. The same with my living quarters, light and airy with the outside part of the inside. It gladdens my heart. My lovely books all in a row on bookshelves.

We need more beauty in Australia if we want to climb the happiness ladder. We are not doing too bad at nr 12 and the US climbing up to 19 on par with the Chech Republic. Holland was 5th.

A nervous heart.

October 27, 2018

Our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison is now comparing setting sick children free from detention with talking to people smugglers. Talking to doctors about the trauma of suffering children, and setting them free is negotiating with people smugglers. “We don’t negotiate on that issue”, he said with a broad smile. In the meantime his hatred is growing fatter.

I am feeling a bit tired and listless of late. I normally don’t gravitate to doctors. Helvi insisted I should get a check-up. “Every time I come downstairs you are sleeping,” she says. It started to get on my nerves. It reached a stage whereby I would quickly get up, when or if, I could hear her coming down. She had warned me she doesn’t want a sleepy husband. She would then hum a Dutch nursery rhyme, ” Slaap kindje, slaap. Sleep child, sleep.” Here it is. It has over 5 million hits. Helvi sings it perfectly. Not a child in Holland would grow up without that little song being sung to lull him or her to sleep. That’s why the Dutch are always on the yearly list of  ‘happiness’.

 

I went see the local doctor who referred me to get an X-ray and blood test done. Lungs are good and apart from an upward adjustment for my thyroid medication the only other problem was that I might have had a heart attack. Another referral was written to see the cardiologist. The same one that deals with Helvi’s heart after it was damaged through her chemo treatment. I went last Thursday. I was told to do a stress test. I very much looked forward to this. Nurse told me to undress and this was followed by getting lots of wires attached to my chest and back. I was put on a tread-mill.  It must have been a ridiculous sight. I was glad Helvi wasn’t there to see her husband struggling on this treadmill. Her Don Juan reduced pitifully. Old age does that.

The outcome was a script for a box full of medications. They all have impossibly difficult and lengthy names. I have an abnormal heart-beat rhythm and strange pulse. This too has a difficult name. I think it is non-valvular ATRIAL Fibrillation. I have five different tablets. Each morning I get up and together with Helvi attend to our medications. The humming of blood pressure machines before breakfast. The updating of charts etc is now common routine.  There is a box of Pradaxa, Candasan or Dabigatran etexilate and many others now. A couple of them are to extract fluids. The toilet is a hive of activity all day. Lucky we have three toilets. The prescriptions are handwritten and I don’t know how the Chemist can make sense of them. The Doctor’s account is crystal clear though.

Perhaps the events in our family a few years ago have overwhelmed. It might not have helped good health. Even so, together we laugh and live off the good memories. The sun still shines.

The King Parrot is happy too.

October 18, 2018

IMG_0144King Parrot.PNG

Jeffrey Sachs spelled it out on one of our Q&A TV programmes a couple of weeks ago. Good social conditions and support makes all the difference. Paying liveable incomes to the unemployed, pensioners or the disabled does not cause cultural collapse as is often touted by extreme capitalist leaders. The list of ‘happy countries’ proves that. Our PM and cohorts often cite that giving ‘free’ money makes people avoid work and lazy, encourages decadence as seen by SSM community now demanding wedding cakes. Unbelievable!

Countries that seem to be on top of the happiness scale each year, by and large, are also enjoying social democratic Governments. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Iceland  Finland. They prove that good social conditions improve employment, reduces crime and homelessness. It makes for ‘happiness.’

IMG_0139Bowral garden.JPG

 

“Based on a global ranking of happiness levels across 156 countries, Finland has claimed the No. 1 spot in this year’s World Happiness Report.

Now in its sixth year, the World Happiness Report is produced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

The organization, along with three economists from Columbia University, the University of British Columbia and the London School of Economics’ Center for Economic Performance, created the report using data from the Gallup World Poll to reveal which countries are happy and why.

The report was released on March 14, less than a week before the United Nations celebrates World Happiness Day on March 20.

This year, the United States ranked No. 18 — falling four spots from last year and five from two years ago — “in part because of the ongoing epidemics of obesity, substance abuse and untreated depression,” according to World Happiness Report co-editor and Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs.

Over the past two years, the world’s top 10 happiest countries have remained the same, but have slightly shuffled positions. Through a measurement of happiness and well-being called the “Cantril ladder,” Gallup asked nationally representative populations to value their lives on a scale from 0 to 10, with the worst possible life valued at 0 and the best valued at 10.

The top countries frequently have high values for all six of the key variables that contribute to overall well-being: income (GDP per capita), healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust (absence of corruption) and generosity.”