A 'Happiness barometer'. Yes, really
I am indebted to Coca-Cola for polling 'Europe' (1) as to its happiness or otherwise, and the results are in:
A quarter of us are 'very happy', a further 61% 'happy', 10 'rather unhappy' and 3% very unhappy. There was a further one per cent who were unable to answer, and we might possibly be better off if they rendered for glue. The Belgians are the perkiest, with 94% very / happy. Depending one one's predelictions, the ready availability of trappist beer, moules / frites or chocolate might be the answer. We are second for being 'very happy' (35%) although third overall at 90% to the 91% for our Spanish chums. No don't knows either, which suggests that all is not entirely lost.
At the other end of the scale, it is weltschmerz and so forth for 20% of Bulgars, 18% of Italians and a blockbusting 21% of Romanians.
As to what brings us happiness, for 56% it is family, 46% a significant other and 25% friends. Leisure activities deliver for 15% (respondents could perm any two from seven) while a soulless 14% nominate the Curse of Cain - work. Nine per cent are lost in music, and seven per cent opt for the sporting life. The concept rather than the defunct turf publication, that is.
Country by country, family is top for all bar the Spaniards, who opt for partner / GF / BF. Hats off to the Romanians for being the least likely to nominate work / studies (8%), while we disgrace ouselves at 16%.
Happiest moments of the day are quite comic - 5% opt for catching up on world news. Nothing quite like war, famine, pestilence and death to perk you up now, is there? 7% opt for the first beverage of the morning. I am NOT making this up. Two per cent opt for the first personal e-mail / text of the day. Catching up with friends / family in the evening leads, followed by dinner with family and chatting with friends / colleagues.
Digging deeper, the first drink of the day rates for 14% of Bulgars. If any illuminati can update me on the quality of Bulgarian coffee, tea, OJ or whatever, I would be grateful. Mind you, so do 13% of us. Elsewhere, catching up leads for all bar the Italians, who opt for dinner.
As to digging ourselves out of the Slough of Despond, Europe's number one is to 'go out with friends', followed by 'listening to music'. Presumably not Lou Reed's 'Berlin', Joy Division or some of the other mirth fests I have lurking in my CD rack....
We are the keenest on hugs, with 29% of us opting for them, and having a drink - 16%.
Showing its usual lack of ability to sort sheep from goats, the number one happiness maker for Euroman/woman would be winning the lottery. Presumably a big win, rather than a quid / euro / lek or whatever on a scratchcard. Travelling the world rates second, and then it gets weird - volunteering to help others is third. I would not have thought that there many impediments to just getting up and doing so, but what do I know? Eight per cent choose finding the love of their life, and what that says about the remainder perhaps needs a veil drawn over it. Thereafter it goes beyond weird to the downright freaky - 3% apiece opt for variously being an inventor, a sports star or a teacher. Yes, really. Two per cent think the golden key to happiness would be to be a music star or a comedian. One per cent think being a celeb would be the thing.
Country by country, the lottery leads for all bar the Bulgarians. Our fourth choice is teaching, so maybe all those commercials have made an impact. A rum business.
(1) Europe, for these purposes is this rather odd selection - Us, the Gauls, the Italians, the Spanish, the Belgians, the Romanians and the Bulgarians. From previous surveys, the Balkan contingent look to be a rather sour lot, so perhaps not over much should be read into the exclusion of the notoriously joyous Nordic types.