Why are Nordic countries so happy and what can we learn from them?

Background: This article attempts to find a reason why Nordic countries consistently rank the highest on the World Happiness Report. It goes into detail about why the reasons may be for this starting with money. It explains that Nordic countries have a high level of income inequality so money shouldn’t be the reason why they are so happy. They also explain that money can’t be the reason because the wealthiest countries on the list ranked decently low on the report. The article goes into detail about the environments that these people live in, and it concludes that the environments have short periods of light and very cold temperatures. Although people adapt to environments this was also not a reason, they were ranked happiest. They explain that government institutions can make citizens feel secure. They also explain it could be due to genetics and being a small homogenous country could be the reason for high happiness levels for these countries.

How I used it: I used this article to be one of the highlights on why money isn’t the reason people are happy. Specifically, I asked and tried to answer the question of why these people were happier than others by listing the causes and trying to define what happiness was. I also used the facts about Saudi Arabia and India being the wealthiest countries in the world but at the same time, they ranked low on the happiness report showing that money and happiness don’t go hand and hand.  

Aristotle: pioneer of happiness

Background: This article delves deep into Aristotle’s theories of happiness and gives a little bit of insight into his background. It begins by giving a long summary of who Aristotle was, being one of the most influential philosophers ever. It goes over some of his theories, institutions, and works specifically going over one of his most influential works the Nicomachean Ethics. This piece of work, it discusses some of Aristotle’s theories about happiness and what happiness truly is. To Aristotle, happiness was the ultimate purpose of a human’s life and someone couldn’t be truly happy until they lived their whole life. He rejected the culture that we live with today being Instant gratification or fading feelings of contempt to be happiness.    

How I used it: I used this article and Aristotle’s theories to come up with my own definition of happiness being fulfilled in the most important parts of life. I highlighted Aristotle’s theory of happiness being the ultimate purpose of our lives. I emphasized that Aristotle’s views are still relevant today by using his Virtue ethics to explain that bettering oneself is a big part of feeling fulfilled in one’s life. Mostly I used this article to show that working towards an end goal and feeling fulfilled is what happiness is.    

Happiness: Defined

Background: In this article, the authors attempt to define what happiness really is. They do this by listing what the causes are for “subjective well-being” They look at a few works and studies that are associated with happiness some explaining that feeling contentment, joy, and feeling fulfilled and that one’s life is meaningful and worthwhile. They also go over the reasons why people try to “practice” happiness and they list a few reasons why it’s better for people to feel happy and try to live happier lives. It concludes that happiness is generally feeling positive about life overall.   

How I used it: I used this article by explaining that just feeling positive isn’t enough to be happy. I explained that we don’t have control over factors such as genetics, environment, social forces, and cultures and that we should strive for better things that we can change to feel happy. I used this article to show that those things don’t really make people happy, and that feeling fulfilled in life is what happiness is.  

Money and Happiness: Income, Wealth and Subjective Well-Being

Background: This article attempts to show the relation between money and happiness by showing data and giving facts about the two. It starts with going over what money really is being income and wealth. They name a relationship between money and happiness that is worth going over.  being period happiness and the other being permanent value. They use empirical data and hypotheses to try to distinguish the relationship between the two.

How I used it: I also used this article to show that working hard for something is a way to maximize happiness. Specifically, I used a quote that showed that when people feel there is little competition or when they see someone having higher wealth and income than them then there is a possibility that they can increase their own wealth. By doing this I showed that the more people work on themselves monetary wise the more fulfilled they would be which could lead to happiness.


Background: This article covers all aspects of happiness and the effects it has on our lives. It also discusses different ways one could live their life to live a more meaningful happy life. It starts by giving reasons and causes of why people are happy. It also goes over areas of the world where people are happier and why this might be. Finally, they go over what one must do to live a happy life by explaining what types of lives people can live to be happy the three being the pleasant life, the good life, and the meaningful life all having different meanings.   

How I used it: mostly for this article I used the definitions of the three types of happy lives to help me define what happiness was. I showed that living a meaningful or good life shows that one worked hard towards something they were either good at or working towards helping other people are ways people can feel happier. I also used the article’s example of the King of Bhutan who was a king who thought the best society was the happiest society and he strived to make his people happy proving again that living a happy life requires work.

Speaking of Psychology: The Stress of Money, with Linda Gallo, Ph.D

Background: This excerpt is about the relationship between money and stress. It starts off by giving a little background about the Ph.D. Lunda Gallo who is now a professor of psychology. She has a lot of work, but her main research focuses on the relationship between stress and health. She starts by discussing some side effects of stress and differentiates good stress and bad stress. Good stress is something that can help us avoid danger and face challenges. She then discusses why there is a big gap in stress between those with lower income and higher income.

How I used it: I used this expert to show that one of the biggest causes of stress is. I specifically used it to show that lower-income households have a higher percentage of stress levels than those with higher incomes. This showed that people had long-term effects of stress from financial problems. I used this to show that comparing oneself or not having a high income would place more stress on those who can live comfortably with a higher income.

More Proof That Money Can Buy Happiness (or a Life with Less Stress)

Background: This article also goes over the idea that having a higher income will lead to living a more comfortable life and will help people avoid everyday hassles. It gives specific reasons on why income having more will lead to less stress it also explains how people can buy less stress. It also gives some ideas on how to make people with lower income feel better by taking some structures that we have in our society out. They explain that people with less income may feel shame and that we could take this away from them by making public transportation free.

How I used it: I used a study from this article in my work to show that although people may have more stress from having a lower income, people all deal with distressing situations all the time no matter what their income is. From the study, it stated that there was no significant difference in how people experienced these events. I showed that there is more to feeling happy and feeling not stressed than just money specifically income.

The US bail system punishes the poor and rewards the rich

Background: This article discusses the flaw of the bail system in the US. It starts by giving facts that people who don’t have as much money and are wrongly convicted can’t make bail sometimes. The article mainly discusses the unfairness to poor people when it comes to making bail money and gives many sources and examples of this exact situation. They also give an answer to this problem which is unsecured bonds where people would pay a certain amount only if they fail to appear in court. They also discuss certain states that changed bail laws to help get rid of the unfairness.

How I used it: I used this article to show that money is a gateway out of minor infractions such as speeding tickets, parking tickets, and other minor fines and fees. I also used the main purpose of the article to show that it is unfair for people of different classes to commit the same crime but get treated differently because of the amount of money they have or make.

Mapped the Worlds Happiest Countries in 2023

Background: This article maps out the happiness index of every country in the world showing us which countries are happiest and which are least happy. It shows that Nordic countries like Denmark and Sweden are the happiest countries whereas middle eastern countries like Afghanistan are the east happy. It gives certain reasons why countries may have an increase in their index and what the future of this map could look like. They make the score from 1 being the least happy to 8 being the happiest. Some countries had high 7s whereas some had low 1s

How I used it: I used this article as insight at the beginning of my paper to show that Nordic countries are the happiest. I also used this article to show that wealth doesn’t have much to do with the index since people in wealthy countries also ranked very low on the list. Also, some of the highest-ranking countries weren’t all that wealthy themselves. I also used this to show that happiness is very subjective.

Merely Activating the Concept of Money Changes Personal and Interpersonal Behavior

Background: This final source is another study that shows what happens to a person’s work ethic and just their mood in general when money is just brought up. They show two different results that lead to one conclusion. One result show that people who were reminded of money worked less and didn’t have as much drive as those who were not reminded of money. It also showed that those people liked to work alone rather than together. The other result was that people who were reminded of money took leadership and encouraged others to work harder. In the end, they concluded that money did have a big effect on behavior.

How I used it: I used this article as insight for my paper on how people feel when money is around and what different levels of income could do for people. I attempted to show that having more money could lead to people becoming less interested in the little pleasures of life.  

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