U.N. summit focuses on how to improve global happiness

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News of Note: U.N. summit focuses on how to improve global happiness

The United Nations turned its attention to happiness — and just how it might be achieved on an international scale.

“Conscious that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal” and “recognizing that the gross domestic product … does not adequately reflect the happiness and well-being of people,” a U.N. resolution invites member states to discuss “the pursuit of happiness and well-being in development with a view to guiding their public policies.”

Tom Barefoot, the founder and co-coordinator of Gross National Happiness USA, an organization that seeks to encourage the use of alternative indicators to measure what matters, thinks happiness is caused by similar activities across cultures…

Despite having the largest GDP in the world, the United States was ranked 16th in a 2008 world survey of national happiness. Barefoot thinks there are some simple things Americans can do to increase their happiness.

“Spend more time on other important things like family and friends,” Barefoot said. “Get out in nature and do something for a cause that’s bigger than oneself, volunteer.”

Are you surprised that America ranked 16th in national happiness? We can’t cover our ears and pretend that we’re perfect. Why not humble ourselves and look at the strengths of other nations? Happiness, while almost vague in its simplicity, is at the absolute foundation of all human purists.

I’m excited to hear the UN is even discussing happiness and only hope that the concept is not swept under the table entirely by nations whose thirst for control supersedes the general well-being of all human beings.