As someone who has traveled a lot and has lived in different places, I believe I have a pretty broad view of how a country's customs can influence its peoples' levels of Happiness. For example, someone has shared an article today in one of the "moms groups" I am in, about how the birth-rate is declining in the US, because the customs and laws here are non-conducive to having children. The article stated that a lot of people who actually want children, are not having them because they can not practically do so. And as you might have guessed, these people are quite unhappy about this- as they should be.
I totally get it. I remember when I was pregnant with my first child, and my at-that-time work-place "offered" me a three-month maternity leave, even though they didn't legally have to (at that time). I couldn't imagine leaving a 3-month old baby for 8 hours every day, and when I said that to my then-boss, she replied that she came back to work 5 weeks after her c-section. She was proud of it! And I get that too. In the US we are brain-washed that work is a supreme value of some sort. This capitalistic society tries to train our minds to believe that money, belongings, and status will make us happy. Oh, and that being employed is the most probable way to get those things. It also tries to train you to believe that it is acceptable for a government to not take care of its people. That it's normal to not have health care, affordable education, living wages, and childcare. In Europe they know that play is as important as work, and they have a shorter work-day, work-week, and many, MANY more vacation days. And of course, countries with a high happiness index recognize the importance of ample family time, and especially maternity/ paternity leaves.
What makes me happy? Lots of things. But nothing makes me happier than spending time with my family, and feeling that I am TRULY raising my children. I read a few years ago an article stating that the birth-rate in Denmark (or was is Sweden?) was declining due to young people deciding to be free of responsibilities. The government then launched a campaign of "have kids, make grandma happy". Once again, I totally got it. I can't explain the joy that fills my heart when I watch my mom hug my children and blissfully smile. I never felt that way in a job.
The pandemic has helped a lot of people get their priorities straight. For some, it was the first time they actually spent large stretches of time with their children. For others, they realized they truly needed to rest, and that they have been over-working themselves to the point of mental and physical exhaustion. So if your priorities are making you miserable, ask yourself- what needs to change? Does your inner-being disagree with your ego and wants you to work less (or change jobs) and play more? If so, how can you re-program your mind to get rid of unhelpful beliefs and feelings- such as guilt and fear? How can you start believing that you can have it all, and that you deserve it all? Well, by now you know my answer- Hypnosis! Oh yes, I mentioned this was a national problem- so how can it be solved? Well, first of all, YOU are the creator of YOUR reality, so what's going on with others doesn't have to affect you. Second, if more people shift their priorities, become vocal about what isn't right, and set an example of happiness- others will soon follow!
So be happy and be the change!
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Transformational Leader, Hypnotherapist,