Why Nigerians, Ghanaians, Mexicans, Columbians are among happiest people on earth

Happy Nigerians PHOTO: elaborbizonline.com
Happy Nigerians PHOTO: elaborbizonline.com
• Cheery gene depends on locations, makes protein that affects feelings of pleasure, pain
• Hong Kong, Iraq, China, Jordan had fewer people with genetic material
AGAIN, Nigerians have been listed as some of the happiest people on earth. According to research, the more people in a country have a particular gene, the happier the nation will be.
According to a new study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies and first reported by Fiona Macrae, Science Editor for The Daily Mail UK, the genetic material that is Deoxy ribo-Nucleic Acid (DNA) in question, the FAAH gene, makes a protein that affects feelings of pleasure and pain. People with a particular version of it tend to be cheerier souls.
However, wealth and health were found to have little effect on happiness. The more people in a country who have a variety of the FAAH gene, the happier that nation tends to be, according to new research from Varna University, Bulgaria.
The researchers said what they found could help explain why some of the world’s poorest nations are also the happiest.
According to the study, Ghana, Nigeria, Mexico and Columbia all came out near the top in the happiness league and all three sported high rates of the gene.
In contrast, the peoples of Iraq, Jordan, Hong Kong, China were among the least likely to rate themselves as ‘very happy’ and also had the lowest levels of the gene.
The team from Bulgaria and Hong Kong looked at whether there was a link between levels of the FAAH gene in a population and number of people who said they were ‘very happy’ in global study of life satisfaction.
An earlier study of more than 65 countries published 2003 in the UK’s New Scientist magazine showed that the happiest people in the world live in Nigeria – and the least happy, in Romania.
People in Latin America, Western Europe and North America are happier than their counterparts in Eastern Europe and Russia.
According to the study, Nigeria has the highest percentage of happy people followed by Mexico, Venezuela, El Salvador and Puerto Rico, while Russia, Armenia and Romania have the fewest.
But factors that make people happy may vary from one country to the next with personal success and self-expression being seen as the most important in the United States (U.S.), while in Japan, fulfilling the expectations of family and society is valued more highly.
The survey appears to confirm the old adage that money cannot buy happiness.
Also, according to the third annual World Happiness index published last year by the United Nations (UN), Nigeria is among the three happiest nations in Africa.
Unfortunately, the calculated World Happiness index also showed that people in other African countries are among the unhappiest on Earth.
According to the survey which takes into consideration such indicators as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, life expectancy, levels of civil rights and social freedoms and corruption levels , the happiest people on Earth live in Switzerland.
No African country could get into the top five happiest countries.
At the same time, the World Happiness report 2015 showed that the list of the unhappiest countries to live in were almost completely African.
Among 158 countries in the World Happiness Index Nigeria is ranked 78th. Over the last two years Nigeria slightly lifted its position from 82nd country in the World Happiness Index. Besides Nigeria the happiest African countries are Libya, ranked 63th, and Algeria, ranked 68th.
World Happiness Index is produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), an initiative under the United Nations.
According to the Journal of Happiness Studies study, Sweden – one of the happiest countries in Europe and in the world – also had lots of happy DNA.
Some 26.3 per cent of Swedes have the happiness gene, compared to 23 per cent of Britons, 21 per cent of the French and 20 per cent of Germans.
You may not be able to buy love, but science says you can buy happiness. A recent study suggests purchasing material goods gives us more frequent joy over the course of weeks and months, compared to the happiness we get from an experience.
Researchers say experiences provide intense feelings that will eventually fade, but material things remind a person about the happiness they felt when they first received it.
The University of British Columbia measured people’s happiness up to five times over a two-week period after they purchased or received something material or experiential.
“The decision of whether to buy a material thing or a life experience may, therefore, boil down to what kind of happiness one desires,” said Aaron Weidman, one of the researchers and a student at the university.

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