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U.S. Ranks Only 12th in Well-Being Survey

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Here’s another reason you might feel a slight unease, or restlessness – a topic I am exploring in depth right now. People who live in the U.S. enjoy a standard of well-being that is below that of countries including Panama, Canada, Denmark and Brazil, according to a survey published Tuesday by Gallup and Healthways, which provides wellness services to corporations and healthcare providers.

The survey examines five criteria:

  • Purpose: Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
  • Social: Having supportive relationships and love in your life
  • Financial: Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
  • Community: Liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community
  • Physical: Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

Here is the top 10 list, with the percentage of residents who are “thriving” in at least three of those five criteria

  • Panama (61%)
  • Costa Rica (44%)
  • Denmark (40%)
  • Austria (39%)
  • Brazil (39%)
  • Uruguay (37%)
  • El Salvador (37%)
  • Sweden (36%)
  • Guatemala (34%)
  • Canada (34%)

The United States ranked No. 12 in global well-being.

“The percentage of American adults who are suffering in physical and community well-being is comparable to global levels,” the firm said, explaining the nation’s lower-than-expected ranking.

Gallup said it conducted face-to-face and telephone interviews with respondents in the 135 countries and regional areas. Approximately 1,000 interviews were conducted in the majority of countries, for a total of more than 133,000 interviews in 2013. Responses were then used to determine whether a country had high, medium or low levels of well-being in each of the five elements.

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