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02nd Jan 2015

NEWS: Irish getting happier, Danes and Fijians still happiest

Come along if you feel like a room without a roof; the Danes will show you how

Katie Mythen-Lynch

More than half of Irish people would describe themselves as happy, with 39% feeling more optimistic about 2015 than they were about 2014. Come and get us 2015.

According to a new Red C poll on happiness levels around the world, Fiji is the happiest country, with 93% of the population describing themselves as happy compared to Iraq, where only 31% of people can say the same.

Late last year, the United Nations announced that Denmark is the world’s happiest country. Londoner Helen Russell explores what this little nation of 5.5 million people are doing differently in her upcoming book, The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country (out this week).

Her advice? “Happiness in Denmark is seen as a process rather than a permanent state; something that you actively work at every day by making the most of the little things, indulging in pleasure – whether that’s a delicious pastry or sex – working less and being with your family more.”


Recently the Happiness Research Institute (based in Copenhagen, natch) launched an investigation into what, exactly is making these Danes so darned contented. Having polled more than 10,000 people, the report revealed the 8 ingredients in the Danish recipe for happiness:

“Denmark holds the highest level of trust in the world (Danes happily leave their babies in strollers outside shops and cafés while running errands), and the high level of social security reduces concerns and anxiety for the Danes. Wealth also explains why some countries are happier than other, and furthermore Danes enjoy a high level of freedom through free university education and gay rights. Work in Denmark is characterized by autonomy and flexibility, and allows for time with family and friends through a world class work-life balance. Furthermore, Denmark has a well-developed democracy with a high level of political participation, good governance and a low level of corruption, and finally a strong civil society ensures high quality social relationships among the citizens, which is a major determinant for happiness.”

We’re off to look into flights to Denmark, pronto.