May, 2012 Archive

Happiest country in world: High employment and work-life balance

May 30th, 2012 by Christiane

What defines a happy country? Apparently not just income and wealth because then the United States would be the happiest country in the world – but Denmark is the happiest country, as measured by the OECD – Your Better Life Index. This index profiles the current 34 OECD member nations across a wide range of categories including education, health, employment, sense of community, safety, citizen’s wealth and life expectancy.  Among the top 10 happiest countries are also Norway, Austria, Israel, Canada and Australia.

The United States didn’t make it into the top 10, but overall life satisfaction is higher than in most other OECD countries. While the US scored highest in regards to wealth and housing quality, work-life balance could be better: People in the US work more as the OECD average and have less leisure time. Just one number here to make the point: about 11 % of all American employees work 50 hours and more per week. In Denmark the happiest country, not even 2 % work that much.

Read the full report at:

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Is Happiness and Success mostly based on Genes?

May 22nd, 2012 by Christiane

The nature or nurture discussion goes on: A new study by researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland involving 800 sets of twins provides evidence that the impact of genes may be stronger than previously thought. Earlier studies had already shown that many personality characteristics are at least partially inborn. According to the new study, genetics however have a significatly stronger impact on traits, such as decision making, self-control, or sociability, than environmental influences. The researchers conclude that “genetically influenced characteristics could well be the key to how successful a person is in life.”

Well, I think even if there is a relatively strong genetic influence on happiness, people still can make a difference in their lives. Let’s take for example self-control as this was a mentioned trait in the research study. Of course, someone born with strong self-control may not be prone to  impulsively say or do something that they will later regret, but this doesn’t mean that someone born with weaker self control can’t learn. For them, self-control just doesn’t come as easy.

Read more about the study at

Written by Christiane Turnheim. Christiane is psychologist and life coach. She is also the author of the job satisfaction e-workbook “Learn to Love your Job”

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