Denmark, according to author and self-described grump Eric Weiner, who relies on the Eurobarometer Survey for evidence in his opinion piece in yesterday’s New York Times: More than two-thirds of Danes report being “very satisfied with their lives.”
The reason? Low expectations. Apparently, the Danes don’t expect much to go well and when things do, they’re, well, happy:
Danes have low expectations and so “year after year they are pleasantly surprised to find out that not everything is rotten in the state of Denmark,” says James W. Vaupel, a demographer who has investigated Danish bliss.
If this all sounds vaguely Buddhist, Weiner thinks so, too:
Though not an especially religious people, Danes would make good Buddhists. They live their lives as the Buddha advised: in the present tense, not grasping at some future happiness jackpot.
Other portions of the study show that older people are happier (lower expectations), and since the feminist movement of the 1970s, women are not as happy as they once were (higher expectations).
Read Weiner’s piece here.
Start your day with a fresh perspective
Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.