People who live in small, rural towns are eight times happier than city-dwellers

People who live in rural areas are happier than city dwellers, new research has found.

The study surveyed 400,000 people across Canada using a widely-recognized happiness scale.

Cities have higher salaries, higher education levels and lower unemployment rates.

However, that meant nothing in terms of joy: people who lived in the countryside were, on average, eight times happier than people in urban areas, the study found.

The researchers said the findings lay bare the undeniable importance of strong communities over social isolation.

‘Life is significantly less happy in urban areas,’ the study’s authors concluded.

To assess happiness, researchers at McGill University in Montreal and the Vancouver School of Economics asked people how satisfied they were with their lives on a scale of one to 10.

They then broke this down into various questions that contributed to the same point.

In general, most landed between 7.04 and 8.94; just five percent fell below a rating of five out of 10.

Given the small average range, the study authors said, even one fraction difference was statistically significant.

They found that people in cities were 800 percent less happy than those in small towns or rural areas.

The reasons for this, the authors said, are many, but is mainly driven by the lack of a strong community base.

Scores of studies have shown, city-dwellers tend not to have as much regular contact with family or friends.

And, as a study found this week, social isolation can literally change the brain, flooding the brain with a chemical that fuels fear and aggression.

City-dwellers also tend to spend more of their income – at least 30 percent – on their housing, which is a stressor.

One Toronto therapist, who spoke with Canada’s Global News, also said people in urban areas tend to feel less safe, even subconsciously.

‘There isn’t the same feeling of safety,’ Lesli Musicar said.

‘People are generally less trusting.

‘There’s a heterogeneous population, it’s not a homogeneous population, it’s not like in a small town where there is a lot more commonality.’


Kenyans Are The 13th Happiest People In Africa

With all the scandals going on, I’m surprised Kenyans can still afford to smile. In the latest UN World Happiness Report released Monday, we have been ranked as the 13th happiest people in Africa.

Surprisingly Somalia is the fifth happiest African Country, despite the  Alshabaab threat among other concerns, followed by our oga brothers the Nigerians and South Africa.

Globally, Norway moved into the top spot as the happiest country in the world, followed by Denmark and Iceland.

We were ranked position 122 globally in the 2016 report but now we have now moved 10 places up and are currently position 112 below Namibia.

According to the report the things making Africans unhappy include lack of jobs, minimal access to health care, high levels of corruption among other things.

“The most important problem facing Africans are unemployment, inadequate access to health facilities, poverty levels, food shortage/famine, crime and corruption”, the report highlights.

Another surprising fact is that our Tanzanian brothers and sisters known for their politeness and chill attitude are among the most unhappy Africans in the bottom ten.  Burundi, also feature down there and the worst of them all is the Central African Republic.

The report however also shows Africa’s Youth are very optimistic of a bright future. The continent’s rich mineral wealth which has not been exhausted and vast agricultural land to be exploited also provide unlimited opportunities.

The report uses data from the Gallup World Poll.

Happy Couples Do This ….

Happiness is a state of mind but it also comes from making a choice to be that way, first as an individual then as a partner when you are in a relationship. Happy couples are people who simply choose to do simple things for each other and live in “happiness” everyday.

Simple habits that many take for granted are what happy couples do everyday;

1. Use the word “we” – There’s no “I” in “relationship” or “marriage.” Wait, actually there is… But not metaphorically speaking. One of the great things about being in a relationship is becoming “one.” This means that his pain is your pain or her fears are your fears. And if one partner achieves success you can say, “We did it!”

2. Brag about each other – They aren’t afraid to let other people know what a great person their partner is. In fact, they are proud of their spouse.

3. Make goals together – Super happy couples set goals on a weekly and yearly basis. They have direction in their life. These goals may be small things like “eat 3 vegetables a day” or “smile at everyone we see this week.” But they can also be bigger goals such as “save enough money to take a trip to Mexico” or “learn how to speak sign language.” Either way, setting goals helps these couples to be happy because they are progressing and supporting each other in their dreams.

4. Learn each other’s love languages – The best couples know how to express love to their partner in a way that their partner will recieve it. Even if you repeatedly tell your wife you love her and remind her how amazing she is, she might not be hearing it if her love language is physical touch. Super happy couples know how to communicate their love in a way their partner will feel it.

5. Clean together – Doing menial tasks with someone you love transforms chores into parties. You’ll make memories jamming out to Disney songs while scrubbing the oven and cultivate an atmosphere for conversation that will both strengthen your relationship and make your life a little more sunny.

6. Share inside jokes – Super happy couples will hear a word that doesn’t mean much to the speaker but they’ll make eye contact and burst into fits of giggles. Cultivate jokes that are special to just the two of you.

7. Talk throughout the day – Super happy couples have each other on their mind. They can’t wait until evening to tell their partner about the roadside drama or getting 100% on a test. If nothing else, happy couples call to check on each other’s days during lunch or to square away evening plans.

8. Date – It doesn’t matter if they’re married, super happy couples go on dates. That’s right, a pre-planned event where they spend time getting to know each other better. It can be a fancy dinner or something casual like going for a walk in the park. The important thing is spending quality one-on-one time together.

For a happier life, give up Facebook: study

Always envious? Got a non-existent social life and struggle to concentrate? All this might be down to Facebook if you believe a study showing those who go a week without using the social network feel happier than others.

Carried out by the Happiness Research Institute, the study involved a sample of 1,095 people in Denmark who were divided into two groups, half of whom continued using Facebook while the others stopped.

“We focused on Facebook because it is the social media that most people use across age groups,” Meik Wiking, HRI’s chief executive told AFP Tuesday in Copenhagen, the Danish capital.

After a week, those people who hadn’t been on Facebook said they were more satisfied with their lives, with 88 percent of them describing themselves as “happy” compared with 81 percent from the second group.

Some 84 percent said they appreciated their lives compared with 75 percent in the other group, and only 12 percent described themselves as dissatisfied, compared with 20 percent among those who continued using Facebook.

At the end of the experiment, the abstainers reported having a richer social life and fewer difficulties in concentrating, while the others reported no such change.

“Instead of focusing on what we actually need, we have an unfortunate tendency to focus on what other people have,” the authors of the study wrote.

In other words, Facebook users are 39 percent more likely to feel less happy than non-users.

Photo Credits : AFP

Here’s Why Being Single Rocks

Being single can get lonely at times, however it is not the end of the world as it also has it’s own share of advantages.

When you are single you can do what you want, when you want and with whom you want. Being single is all about you. It is a special time to be true to yourself and be a little selfish. “You” is at the crux of embracing your single life. I am going to run down a list of reminders on why being single is not so bad after all.

1. No compromising.

When you are single, you can do whatever it is that you love, without having to compromise for someone else’s needs or desires. Maybe you like fried chicken or you like to eat cookies under the stars in a tent in your backyard. There is nothing you have to give up. You can indulge in your guilty pleasures or just simply be yourself without having to give up any part of your pleasure in order to codify someone else.

2. No explaining or justifying.

Not only do you not have to give up your pleasures, but neither do you have to explain or justify to anyone why it is you like doing them. This is liberating. Be yourself, no ifs ands or buts about it.

3. No guilt.

Guilt is something that we can definitely do without. But, so much of our relationships revolve around guilt. The aformentioned compromising and explaining are often things we do to protect our relationship from it’s demise. We fear the loss. Instead of embracing impermanence and remembering what joys singlehood can bring, we often feel bad and guilty about our “selfish” ways. This leads to self- compromising behaviors.

4. No jealousy or insecurity.

Remember this? Jealousy can come from you or your partner. When you celebrate your singlehood, jealousy and insecurity about other people fall down by the wayside. Who cares anymore? The most important person has become you. The ability to live and let live suddenly becomes within your reach. Goodbye jealousy.

5. Friends.

Partners not only want explanations and compromise, but they also may be jealous of your friends? Perhaps, partners may limit the time you have to spend with friends. In many ways friends are more important than our partners. They are there for us when our relationships hit turbulence. Being single is a great time to nurture your friendships. So, hang out with your most debaucherous friends and feel not guilt about it.

6. Develop your identity.

So often people lose themselves in other people, in their partner or in their relationship. Who are you? What is special about you? Singlehood is when you can really let yourself shine and be who you are meant to be.


Study: Having Another Baby Could Make Your Marriage Better

According to findings in the journal Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, If you want a super married life have another baby.

According to researchers from the University of Michigan, several married couples get stressed after the first child birth with the new and challenging duties staring at them.

But with the arrival of the second baby, the quality of married life slowly returns to where it was before the first birth.

“While the initial four weeks after the second birth involves a period of adjustment, couples often adapt to the changes by four months,” the team noted.

Previous research has suggested that marital satisfaction continues to decline with each additional child.

However, researchers in the new study found that couples experienced only minor disruption as the new baby was added to the family.

The study included more than 200 married couples who were tracked from the last trimester of pregnancy through one, four, eight and 12 months postpartum.

Couples having a difficult transition were more likely to use destructive marital communication (yelling, blaming, threatening their spouse) during child care disagreements about who was doing what.

“However, the disruptive period was short-lived. Couples engaged in positive marital relations again by four months,” added Richard Gonzalez, professor of psychology, statistics and marketing.

Meanwhile, couples using more constructive communication and problem-solving strategies fared better after the birth of their second child.

“Couples who communicated positively and received support from family and friends were able to cope with stress, which prevented marital decline,” Volling noted.


Study: You Can Be Single And Happy

Many people associate being single with sadness and loneliness but that’s just a wrong misconception because one can lead a perfectly satisfying life, researchers have found.

People who fear relationship conflicts are just as happy when they are single or in a relationship.

In a survey of more than 4,000 residents, people with high “avoidance social goals” – who try at all costs to avoid relationship disagreements and conflict – were just as happy being single as other people were in relationships.

Being single may remove some of the anxiety triggered by relationship conflicts for these individuals, the team noted in a paper published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

The study also found that participants with low avoidance goals who aren’t concerned about the ups and downs of a relationship were less happy when they were single.

The study participants ranged in age from 18 to 94 years with long-term relationships lasting almost 22 years on average.  One-fifth of the participants were single at the time of the study.

They also discovered that trying too hard to avoid relationship conflicts actually may create more problems.

While high avoidance goals may help people be happier when they are single, it can have negative effects in a relationship, contributing to anxiety, loneliness, lower life satisfaction.

With a high divorce rate, solo parenting and many people delaying marriage to pursue career goals, the number of single people is on the rise.

According to the lead researcher Yuthika Girme, psychology doctoral candidate at University of Auckland. “It is a well-documented finding that single people tend to be less happy compared to those in a relationship but that may not be true for everyone,”.

“Having greater approach goals tends to have the best outcomes for people when they are in a relationship, but they also experience the most hurt and pain when they are single,” Girme concluded.


This Is What A Happy Marriage Is (As Discussed By Wives)

A happy marriage does not just happen, it takes both work and effort from the partners involved. Marriages fail because of various reasons that are often overlooked by many. For example open communication and honesty are things that are needed to make things work, but if not included the union collapses.

Couples with successful marriages cite their reasons for success as being things that unsuccessful couples don’t pay attention to like open communication, honesty, love and patience. According to an article by Jillian Kramer of BRIDES, for the Huffingtonpost here are the reasons for a happy marriage as discussed by five wives who are living it!

1. “A happy marriage is being happy with what you’ve got, rather than expecting your marriage to be a certain way,” says one married woman. “Being content and grateful for what you have, instead of constantly trying to live up to some unrealistic standard set by movies and romance novels, is real happiness.”

2. “In a happy marriage, two people share things equally,”says another married woman. “It doesn’t sound romantic, but I’m honestly happy because my husband does the dishes and the laundry as often as I do. We cook together, we run errands together. I don’t feel burdened, and I don’t feel taken for granted.”

3. “We talk about everything, and I think that’s what a happy marriage is,” says one wife. “I’ve had relationships in which I felt like I had to keep secrets from my partner, but I can tell my husband anything. I like that I can be open about my feelings, and know that we’ll work through whatever it is together.”

4. “This is my second marriage and it’s happy, unlike the first, because we are totally honest with one another,”says another woman. “Whether we aren’t thrilled with what’s happening in the bedroom or we’re concerned over money, we spit it all out and then work it out.”

5. “I think a happy marriage is about forgiveness,”says another married woman. “No one is perfect and if you can just let go of the little things and move on from the bigger things, like arguments, with a forgiving rather than begrudging heart, you’re in really good shape.”

Kenyans ranked happiest people in Africa

Kenyans have been ranked the second happiest people in Africa and 35th in the world according to a Gallup happiness report. Paraguay, Colombia and Ecuador were ranked the happiest in the world at position 1,2 and 3 respectively while Rwanda was ranked the happiest in Africa and 23rd in the world. Sudan, Tunisia and Turkey were ranked as the unhappiest countries in the world.

The report released to mark the third annual International Day of Happiness ranked the top 10 countries from Latin America. The places with the lowest positive emotions were the war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, conflict-ridden South Sudan and Ukraine. Liberia also suffered in the happiness index because of the ebola epidemic.

Here is the full list of the happiest countries,


Character traits of happy women

Most people like saying that women are bitter and mostly complain.

This may be the case among a small number of women, as there is a larger number of those who are happy.

Here are some of the characteristics of happy women.

Happy women make it a habit to maintain routines.
When you know what to expect from your day, simple things make it joyful. When you know your routine well, you know what to realistically expect from it, how to manoeuvre its challenges and how to find joy within what pops up in it.

Happy women make it a habit to look for the goodness around them.

When you train yourself to look for the good around you, you see it. You see someone smiling at you, starting a conversation with you, being a friend. When you make it a point, a habit, to notice goodness, it lifts you. It makes you happy, if you will.

Happy women make it a habit to be open to newness.
This world is so big and so wonderful and so rich of things to try and learn and do. When we say yes to simple things like new foods, important things like new friends and everything in between like new book genres, new tasks and new experiences, our endorphins increase and our happiness rises with them.

Happy women make it a habit to lift others up.
Telling someone else that you like their shirt, their hair looks great, they’re a great mom, they rocked a presentation or their work gave you chills, it feels good happy on both sides.

Happy women make it a habit to take accountability for their experiences.When I link a bad eating day to my own poor planning, a negative interaction to my own grumpiness, a lack of productivity to my own procrastination, these don’t feel out of control or never-ending. If I own them, I can change them and/or my reaction to them, and I’m happier for it.

Happy women make it a habit to remember that nothing lasts forever.

This mantra makes the bad stuff feel bearable and the good stuff feel golden.

Happy women make it a habit to not expect perfection.
Not every moment or every day is happy. Everyone has terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. When I do, I find it to be a relief to know that I can fall back on these habits and find happiness again.

Happy women make it a habit to surround themselves with other happy people.I love the quote, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Choose wisely.



Injera happy to be back in Sevens team

Collins Injera says he is happy to be back in the Kenya Sevens squad after spending several months in the cold.

The Mwamba winger last played for Kenya during the London IRB series last year. Since then Injera has not featured for Kenya in any competitive tournament.

Several Sevens players went on strike last year towards the Kenya Rugby Safari Sevens due to disagreements with Kenya Rugby Union over contract issues.

Injera was among the players who boycotted the national team but after the Gold Coast IRB series he resumed training with the team though he missed Dubai and Port Elizabeth series due to work commitments.

“definitely it’s always nice representing the nation, just been back in the fold is good thing, the last few weeks it’s been tough for us, the preparation has been good’ said Injera.

“The environment i can say is back to normal, the players have really bonded with each other and they know what is expected of them’ he added.
In Wellington Kenya has been pooled in group D against Samoa, Argentina and Scotland and Injera is certain it will not be a walk in the park for Shujaa.

“it’s quite tricky group, I can’t say it’s an easy group as you know IRB has changed, as you saw in the past tournaments, Argentina and Scotland have been playing good rugby while Samoa have been on and off” Said Injera .

“We just need to remain focused and keep heads right in the game and we will get good results” he added.

One of the targets for the national side was to secure an Olympics slot but Injera feels this will be long a shot for Kenya after series of poor displays. However he is confident they can qualify through Africa qualifiers.

“For now I can say, it’s a long shot finishing in the top four unless we have to win all the tournaments but we still have a chance through Africa qualifiers” said Injera.

Injera says their priority is to get out of the last five and aim at finishing among the top teams in the series.
Captain Andrew Amonde has also are assured Kenyans the team will bounce back to winning ways.

“We carry the hope of many people, a lot of people believe in us and as players we know we can do better, we have been in the series before and what we can do as players is good enough to take us where we want to be as a team’ he concluded.

The team will leave for New Zealand on Saturday.

Want a happy heart? be optimistic

Scientists have revealed that people who have an upbeat outlook on life are likely to have significantly better cardiovascular health, after a new study explored the relationship between heart health and optimism in more than 5,100 adults.

The cardiovascular health of the participants was assessed according to seven markers including blood pressure, cholesterol levels and BMI index, alongside an assessment of mental health, levels of optimism and physical health.

Rosalba Hernandez, a professor of social work at the University of Illinois, who led the study, said: ‘Individuals with the highest levels of optimism have twice the odds of being in ideal cardiovascular health compared to their more pessimistic counterparts.

‘This association remains significant even after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics and poor mental health.’


Van Gaal reflects on happy United Christmas

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said the Christmas period had been a triumph for his team after they beat Yeovil Town to reach the FA Cup fourth round.

While Sunday’s 2-0 win against third-tier opponents who sat 65 places below them in the league ladder was to be expected, Van Gaal was pleased to achieve it, despite picking up two more injured defenders along the way.

Right-back Rafael da Silva suffered a possible fractured cheekbone, while left-back Luke Shaw picked up an ankle problem. Both were substituted at half-time.

“I’m very happy that we have survived this festive period because I don’t have a big squad because of all the injuries. I had a small squad,” Van Gaal said after the match.

“I could not change much and in spite of that we have regained ground on Chelsea by one point (in the Premier League) after the festive period and we are in the fourth round of the FA Cup. What more can a manager wish for?

“I have heard from my fantastic assistant manager (Ryan Giggs) that Man United have not won the FA Cup for 10 years and maybe we can do that this year. But it is a very long way.”

Rafael left Yeovil’s Huish Park stadium early to have his injury assessed and Van Gaal praised the Brazilian for his commitment while sympathising with his misfortune in getting injured.

“He played through (the pain) because the last few weeks he didn’t play and now he is injured,” said the Dutchman. “He has a fantastic mentality, it’s unbelievable.”

Ander Herrera’s superb 64th-minute strike from outside the penalty area put United ahead before a calm finish from substitute Angel di Maria sealed United’s progress in the final minute of the match.

On Herrera’s strike, Van Gaal said: “It’s his class. It’s not his first goal from outside the box and it was a fantastic goal. There was a little bit of luck, but you need that and I was very happy with him.”

– ‘Gave them a fright’ –

Robin van Persie was rested for the game so James Wilson came into the side to start in attack alongside Radamel Falcao, with Wayne Rooney playing in midfield.

United failed to create a decent chance in the first half, but improved after the break.

Van Gaal was ultimately pleased with how his side went about their business, and that Di Maria got some time on the pitch after missing the last two weeks with hamstring and pelvic problems.

“We didn’t have the patience in the first half,” he said. “We wanted to make the first goal too much and I changed the shape. We had a man more in midfield then and we kept the ball better.

“We have a lot of pace in our attack and that is why I selected Wilson and later I gave Di Maria 30 minutes, because he needs to build up his match rhythm.

“It’s not a matter of how far below us they were because when you see the performance of Yeovil Town and how they press the ball, the ball was always under pressure and you can do that with an amateur team also.”

Gary Johnson, the Yeovil manager, had warned his players not to ask for ‘selfies’ with Rooney and his illustrious team-mates before the match, but he was proud of their performance on the day.

“I wanted to make sure we gave them a fright and we did that,” Johnson said.

“When the boys get home, they’ll realise what they’ve done here. I don’t think there was £159 million ($244 million, 203 million euros) between the sides.”