How do you know the economy is growing? In general, specialists will use gross domestic product (GDP) as their starting point. However, this one only notices exchanges and profits. It says nothing about the emotional state of the country. Behind an excellent GDP, exploited workers, more or less pleasant living conditions, a deteriorated environment, etc. can be hidden. As a result, other experts have tried to take the pulse of the population and estimate general happiness. Access that doesn’t come from nowhere.
Whistle while working
Martin Seligman is the father of positivist psychology. The basic idea is that happiness leads to happiness. By putting people in a positive context, the atmosphere will get them, they will surpass themselves, they will cheer and “contaminate” others around them. It was enough to give birth to an incredibly popular sector, the sector of personal growth. So coaches and speakers appeared to plant the seed of positivity that many of us lack. Arte made a very interesting documentary about it.
Some have been inspired and decided to think about the “happy economy” or the economics of happiness in this vein. For them, it is important that the professional environment offers contexts where everyone feels good. In addition, many studies have shown how much employee productivity increases and how much they give more to society. A relatively logical observation, which, however, made it possible to reverse the tendency he believed in the administration to know that it is necessary to lead by fear.
When GDP goes down, happiness goes down and vice versa. In addition, nations focused on making the well-being of the people a priority. Bhutan, for example, has invested heavily in a healthy environment, poverty reduction, etc. It is therefore one of the few countries with a negative carbon balance that has adopted strict measures in the field of tourism in order to preserve natural and urban areas. National economic development has been steadily progressing for decades.
The tyranny of luck
But as the documentary Arte reminds us, this command to happiness and self-improvement can also have a dark side. Really, how do you quantify happiness? This is a very personal impression. Moreover, everyone has their own interpretation; therefore, it seems difficult to attach a global definition to it. However, these repeated prescriptions from coaches, influencers, family members and now even bosses can really weigh on individuals. Some sociologists call this phenomenon a “happycracy” because the industry encourages us to be positive.
Plus, it’s good to want to be positive, but when the world around you isn’t doing well or a recession is starting, it’s hard to maintain a happy attitude. In addition, research conducted by Australian researchers has shown that this constant searching can lead people to chew when they are not feeling well. They will feel guilty, as this negative bubble will only lead to failures, according to the actors of personal growth. The industry also tends to promote the idea of ”detoxifying” bad thoughts. Some psychologists thus almost record mental orthorexia in patients, in which they do everything to get rid of it, sometimes even in an unhealthy way.
Provide caring context
In fact, for many mental health professionals, it would be better to bet on benevolence towards yourself. Instead of blaming yourself for the emotions of sadness or anger, embrace them and put your energy into things that are good for everyone: dive into a good novel, take a walk in nature, or play a video game. For companies, this means offering an environment that offers satisfactory pay and working conditions that allow employees to thrive.
Not to mention that a country can have green economic indicators without people experiencing joy. Despite the decent numbers at the end of 2021, Americans felt strongly unhappy.
Much more so than other nations like Finland that rely more on benevolence and the collective. The Scandinavian country really invests heavily in initiatives like the “baby box”, around forty items for new parents to get their parenthood off to a good start. The Finnish government has decided that parental leave for fathers will increase from September 2022. However, these initiatives are part of a common goal. Finns pay a very large portion of taxes every year. And if happiness also resided in public bodies that take care of their population?
Photo credit: en.depositphotos.com
Almeida, Jade. “The Western obsession with happiness or the limits of personal development.” Jade Almeida. Last updated: June 14, 2022. https://www.jadealmeida.com/index.php/2022/06/14/lobsession-du-bonheur-en-occident-ou-les-limites-du-developpement-personnel / .
Barrel, Helen. “Pay tax, luck!” Press. Last updated: March 28, 2022. https://www.lapresse.ca/affaires/economie/2022-03-28/planete-economique/payer-de-l-impot-le-bonheur.php.
Brault, Julie. “And if the happiness of some was also the happiness of others?” LesAffaires.com. Last updated: March 31, 2022. https://www.lesaffaires.com/blogues/le-courrier-des-lecteurs/et-si-le-bonheur-des-uns-faisait-aussi-le-bonheur-des – others/631971.
Bris, Arthur. “Happy People, Happy Economy? Overtaking GDP to Measure Economic Success in 2022.” Me according to IMD. Last updated: 10 January 2022. https://iby.imd.org/competitiveness/happy-people-happy-economy-moving-beyond-gdp-in-measuring-economic-success-in-2022/.
Brooks, Arthur C. “How to be Happy in a Recession.” Atlantic. Last updated: September 12, 2022. https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2022/07/us-recession-economy-happiness/670974/.
Burke, Jolanta. “Why the pursuit of happiness can be bad for you – and what you should pursue instead.” Conversation. Last updated: February 22, 2022. https://theconversation.com/why-the-pursuit-of-happiness-can-be-bad-for-you-and-what-you-should-pursue-instead-176838 .
Cornwall, Gail. “The Problem with Positive Psychology: When the Pursuit of Happiness Turns Toxic.” Living room. Last updated: April 23, 2022. https://www.salon.com/2022/04/23/the-problem-with-positive-psychology-when-the-pursuit-of-happiness-regresses-into-positivity / .
“Happycracy: How the Happiness Industry Took Over Our Lives.” TV5MONDE. Last updated: 24 December 2021. https://information.tv5monde.com/info/happycratie-comment-l-industrie-du-bonheur-pris-le-controle-de-nos-vies-257808.
Hiltzik, Michael. “Column: The Biden economy is booming. Why aren’t Americans happier with it?” Los Angeles Times. Last updated: December 15, 2021. https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2021-12-15/the-biden-economy-is-booming-why-arent-americans-happy.
Hivert, Anne-Francoise. “Finland, the country that invests in happiness.” Le Monde.fr. Last updated: March 7, 2022. https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2022/03/07/la-finlande-le-pays-qui-investit-dans-le-bonheur_6116417_3210.html.
Loknath Sharma, Lyonpo and Ratnakar Adhikari. “What Bhutan Got Right About Happiness – And What Other Countries Can Learn.” World Economic Forum. Last updated: 25 October 2021. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/10/lessons-from-bhutan-economic-development/.
McGuirk, Lucy, Rosemary Kingston, Peter Kuppens, and Brock Bastian. “Does a culture of happiness increase rumination over failure?” ResearchGate. Last updated July 2017. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318474791_Does_a_Culture_of_Happiness_Increase_Rumination_Over_Failure.
“New study shows we work harder when we’re happy.” University of Warwick. Accessed 16 September 2022. https://warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/new_study_shows/.
See other articles by this author