Ruut Veenhoven, the Dutch sociologist konw as the “godfather of happiness research”, maintains the World Database of happiness. And when he looked at all the countries of the world in terms of happiness, Moldova come up dead last.
- Main findings are:
- Happiness is universal. All humans tend to assess how much they like the life they live and conditions for happiness are quite similar. Yet there is some cultural variation in beliefs about happiness. Happiness draws on gratification of universal needs, rather than on meeting culturally relative wants
- Need gratification depends both on the livability of society and the life-ability of individuals
- Greater happiness of a greater number is possible in contemporary societies and can be ‘engineered’, among other things in the following ways:
- Fostering freedom, so that people can choose the way of life that fits them best.
- Informing people about effects of major choices on the happiness of people like them. This requires large scale long-term follow-up studies comparable to research in nutrition.
- Investing in mental health, professionalization of life-coaching.
- Happiness signals that we are functioning well and for that reason happiness goes hand-in-hand with good health, both mental and physical. Happy people live longer.
- Being happy combines well with doing good. Happier people do better in relationships, do more voluntary work and are more interested in other people and their problems.