According to the 2017 ‘How’s Life’ report, life has improved for some people and places around the world due to a fall in the number of people who smoke, decreased greenhouse gas emissions, higher investment rates, and an increase in economic assets.
However, some of the key aspects of well-being are faltering around the world. People feel less supported by family and friends, satisfaction with life overall has slightly decreased, and obesity is on the rise. People are losing trust in government, voter turnout has decreased, and debt for individual households is rising, and so on.
What does this all mean in terms of the overall quality of life for the individual?
The impact on the individual greatly depends on where they fall in the income bracket for the majority of societies; the more stratification, the worse it is for the lower class.
The ‘How’s Life’ summary states, “For example, people in the top 20% income bracket are twice as likely as those in the bottom 20% to report high life satisfaction. And people with high life satisfaction are four times more likely to report being in good health when compared to those with low life satisfaction.” These statistics show, not only the major gap in quality of life, but also the interconnectedness of all the measurable characteristics involved in creating a quality of life.
As one aspect changes, it seems to impact the others. Similarly, that will happen with the individual and society as a whole.
In a society where improvement in some aspects means the degradation of others, and with such a drastic gap in life quality due to stratification, how can Happytalism possibly exist?
Well, as with the problem, the solution starts with the individual.
Positive Psychology Program reports that positive communities promote individual mindfulness. The best way to promote something is to practice it yourself; so to promote mindful performance in your community, be mindful.
It is also important to understand the components of well-being, to prevent an imbalance, as seen in the ‘How’s Life’ report. One source breaks the concept into 7 dimensions of wellness, which can also show the overlap of the measured characteristics of the index:
Social (housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment)
Emotional (housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment)
Environmental (community, environment)
Occupational (income, jobs, community, education)
Intellectual (income, jobs, community, education)
Physical (income, jobs)
As you can see, there is extensive overlap both with the characteristics themselves and with the dimensions of wellness that each impacts. This overlap demonstrates how crucial it is for the individual and society as a whole to focus on each component of wellness; a healthy society creates a happy society.
How does focus on these traits translate to a happy society?
They start with the individual - you. You are a leader. Then, they are promoted throughout the community, and as social creatures, people follow suit. As this community grows, and it will since everything focuses on their happiness, so does its reach. Eventually, you have a productive and happy society, which will only continue to expand.
Where do you start?
Seek positive education to practice mindfulness. Become aware of your own values and those of your community; look at all of them compassionately and empathetically, and then encourage others to do the same.
Remember, a forest can begin from one seed. A seed becomes a tree, which grows to develop its own seeds, who then continue the cycle. Be the initial seed, the one whose values spread to create Happytalism in your society.