The Danes top the world map of happiness in a survey of 178 nations. What makes them so satisfied? Is it their health? Their family life? A strong economy? The answer is: none of the above.
One surprising reason dates back to 1992. That's the year the Danes won the European Football Championship. Nearly 15 years later, the whole country is still ecstatic over winning this championship.
But there's more.
Perhaps the biggest reason the Danes are so happy is one you can translate into your own life. Their expectations for the New Year are low. That's right … low expectations equal happiness. By contrast, Italians and Greeks have high expectations and are low in life satisfaction.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't have expectations. But when you set your goals for the New Year, make them realistic. Even a bit lower than realistic. Instead of vowing to go to the gym every day, plan on going three times a week or more. If all you go is three days, you'll be satisfied. If you make it in four or five days, you'll be happy. And if you actually get there every day, you'll be, well, like a Dane.
The same goes for your diet. Take baby steps that ensure your success. Don't be hard on yourself if you fail. Pick yourself up, re-set your goals, and be more realistic.
Happiness is good for your health. It boosts your immune system. So, let's all learn from the happiest people. There is nothing like a Dane. Nothing in the world.
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Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
Christensen, K. British Medical Journal, December 22, 2006.