New Zealanders are some of the happiest, most positive people
in the world, a new global study has found.
Kiwis smile and laugh more than most people, while being
well-rested and feeling that they are treated with respect.
New Zealand is ranked 15th, alongside Canada, in the annual
Gallup poll entitled 'Positive Experience Index' which
measured positive emotions in 143 countries last year.
People in war-torn Syria and and post-war Iraq are the least
likely in the world to report experiencing positive emotions.
Australia (75 per cent), the UK (76 per cent) and the US (77
per cent) were also ranked below New Zealand's 79 per cent on
But Latin Americans, particularly those who live in Paraguay
and Venezuela (86 per cent) top the table.
The results come just two weeks after Kiwis were ranked among
the happiest people in the world, coming 13th out of 156
nations examined in the latest United Nations World Happiness
Psychologist Chris Skellett, author of the book When
Happiness is Not Enough, said New Zealand is much better
at "living in the moment'' than most countries, especially
"In Australia, there's a sense of it being the lucky country,
a land of opportunity, and everybody is waiting for their big
break or to clinch the next deal before they will be happy,''
"We are very relaxed as a culture, achieving a balance
between pleasure in the moment and satisfaction through
achieving meaningful goals.''
The age-old adage that 'the best things in life are free' has
never been more relevant, he said.
In his book, he talks about the "three domains of happiness",
which includes people being in touch with nature through
their five senses - listening to music, feeling the warmth of
the sun, smelling the salt air etc - relaxing and laughing in
the company of close friends, and being appreciative of the
world as it is.
"People in a lot of first world countries get too stressed
about making money, getting a better car, a bigger house, but
not too many people in New Zealand get carried away with
that,'' Mr Skellett said.
The Gallup results are based on telephone and face-to-face
interviews with approximately 1000 adults in each country,
aged 15 and older, conducted last year.
Despite the tendency of news media internationally to focus
on conflict and negative reports, people worldwide are
generally upbeat, Gallup found.
On average, 73 per cent of adults worldwide say they
experienced enjoyment "a lot of the day'' yesterday.
Seventy-two per cent smiled and laughed a lot, 85 per cent
felt they were treated with respect, and 71 per cent felt
Forty-five per cent of adults reported that they learned or
did something interesting "yesterday''.
Nick Wilson, Associate Professor of public health at
University of Otago Wellington, said while measuring positive
emotions is only part of the well-being picture, coupled with
the recent World Happiness Survey results, it appears New
Zealanders are satisfied with their lot.
However, he added there is still a lot that can be done to
improve well-being in New Zealand.
He cited areas for improvement as including mental health
treatment services, tobacco and alcohol addiction, poverty,
and job opportunities for young people.