The happiness index belongs to the number of indicators that allow generalizing on the perceived quality of life in different countries. The level of happiness in the United States continues decreasing, which indicates the exacerbation of some internal problems related to common people’s everyday life.
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If applied to the U.S. situation with citizen happiness, the methods of classification, cause and effect analysis, and comparison indicate the need for innovative and effective measures for the promotion of social support.
First Main Point
Social interactions present the component of happiness that should not be neglected.
In general, the information from the report aligns with my vision of America since it analyzes the situation using enough indicators such as life satisfaction, income levels, and physical/mental health. Applying the method of classification, it is necessary to emphasize the social level of happiness that refers to the quality of interactions between social groups and related trends. For instance, Sachs argues that the decline in social capital and the weakening of inter-group ties are partially responsible for America’s current happiness levels (180). Therefore, some incarnations of happiness such as social links need to inform the improvement strategy.
Second Main Point
In the U.S., the growth of income levels does not lead to significant increases in citizen happiness.
The analysis of happiness in the United States concerning causes and effects suggests that efforts aimed at reducing poverty do not increase happiness (Sachs 179). Given the findings reported by Sachs, happiness improvement strategies have to include measures for addressing the U. S. social crisis (179). For instance, attention should be paid to corruption prevention initiatives and other measures for increasing people’s trust in authorities. Additionally, the reduction of ethnicity-based prejudice can be the key to happiness.
Third Main Point
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin provides some recommendations that I find helpful and applicable to the U.S. situation (Belli 96).
Specifically, the author emphasizes the role of relationships and the ability to make friends in happiness (Belli 96). Just like the conclusions made by Sachs, this suggestion identifies the need for measures capable of reducing social stratification and removing barriers to national unity (180). Potential strategies related to this goal may include new initiatives encouraging multiculturalism in work/educational settings. Also, the popularization of social networks such as Happier can enable people to expand their social circle, thus contributing to happiness (Belli 99).
Fourth Main Point
Compared to the U.S., countries such as Denmark place togetherness among the key prerequisites to happiness.
Comparative analysis can be helpful in the identification of limitations and gaps in happiness improvement. According to Sachs, the American approach to increasing the number of happy citizens is, to some extent, limited to addressing the economic crisis, thus giving priority to the material component of well-being (179). Discussing the Danish approach to happiness, The Little Book of Lykke by Meik Wiking emphasizes togetherness or social support, listing it among the pillars of well-being (Lemire 976).
Fifth Main Point
Happiness levels can be improved due to increases in social support and mental health promotion.
Given the radical differences between the approaches to happiness implemented in the U.S. and Denmark, some experiments with the prioritization of values can be helpful for the former. In 2017, the U.S. demonstrated decreases in social support, negatively affecting people’s confidence in the future (Sachs 180). To improve the situation, it can be beneficial to redistribute the resources for development and focus on the reduction of mortality rates and making mental health services more available to high-risk populations (Sachs 182).
Summary/Concluding Thoughts/Restatement of Thesis
To sum it up, there are weaknesses in the American approach to happiness promotion. The analysis of other countries’ priority areas and the effects of interventions focused on financial well-being indicates that the social level of happiness needs to be prioritized in the U.S. Based on modern authors’ works, it may involve a variety of actions helping to promote trust, reduce prejudice, and improve public confidence in the authorities.
Belli, Jill. “Unhappy? There’s an App for That. Tracking Well-Being Through the Quantified Self.” Digital Culture & Society, vol. 2, no. 1, 2016, pp. 89-103.
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Lemire, Francine. “Being a Good Colleague.” Canadian Family Physician, vol. 63, no. 12, 2017, p. 976.
Sachs, Jeffrey D. “Chapter 7: Restoring American Happiness.” World Happiness Report 2017, edited by John Helliwell et al., Sustainable Development Solutions Network, 2017, pp. 178-184.