In what is fast becoming a trait as prominent as ‘Egyptian hospitality’, Egypt has been ranked among the ‘saddest’ countries in the world again, according to a poll by Gallup released last week to mark the third International Day of Happiness. The study placed Egypt in at 123 with a ‘Positive Experience Index’ score of 58 – well behind the top ranked country, Paraguay, who scored 89.
The ‘Happiness Index’ is measured by factors like laughing, freedom, social capital, charitable giving – notably, NOT money. The happiest countries in the world are definitely not the richest. Why? How can we start to achieve the same levels of ‘I don’t hate my life’? Happiness starts with appreciating what you have.
As a social experiment/office time-waster, we asked the people we spend eight-to-ten hours a day with, five days a week, with one simple question; as a citizen of this weird and wonderful place called Cairo, what makes you happy?
Answers ranged from the very general…
…to the weirdly specific….
…to the just plain weird.
Unsurprisingly, though, food came up.
Pets, too, obviously.
Some people even decided to demonstrate what made them happy.
For some, happiness is never growing up.
Some take the bad and turn it into good.
We even caught a few people on their way home.
You'll notice that the answers are rather basic; it's the simple pleasures in life that make them happy. And while this is just a very specific cross-section of people, it proves one universal thing - happiness isn't that complicated and reaching it needn't be either.
But, alas, some are just lost causes, doomed to forever be unhappy. Or maybe they even thrive on misery.
By Noor Salama