Community//

Earth Day Happiness

Happiness Data Report for Earth Day 2019

What if spending time in nature made you happier, gave you a greater sense of belonging to community, increased your satisfaction with life and gave you more sense of purpose and meaning in life? Would that change how you thought about spending time in nature? Would it change how, as a collective, we treated our beautiful planet?

What makes you happy on earth day?

We analyzed happiness data gathered with our Happiness Index in 2018. We wanted to see how happy people are when they are satisfied with their opportunities to enjoy nature versus when they are dissatisfied with their opportunities to enjoy nature. The results were startling. People who are very satisfied with their opportunities to enjoy nature are 25% happier than people who are not satisfied with their opportunities to enjoy nature.

This comparison is not evidence that if you spend time in nature, you will be happier. If it did, then by spending time in nature, you might be able to raise your happiness level by 25%.

When looking at sense of belonging to community, it turns out that people who are very satisfied with their opportunities to enjoy nature are 29 points on a 100 point scale higher than those who are very dissatisfied with their opportunities to enjoy nature.

Comparing sense of purpose and meaning (measured by asking the degree to which you agree or disagree with the statement “I lead a purposeful and meaningful life”) to satisfaction with opportunities to enjoy nature, people who are very satisfied with their opportunities to nature score 28% higher in terms of their sense of purpose and meaning.

When looking at satisfaction with life, people who are very satisfied with their opportunities to enjoy nature are 21.9% more satisfied with life than people who are not satisfied with their opportunities to enjoy nature.

Our data does not show that there is a relationship between satisfaction with opportunities to enjoy nature and happiness, sense of belonging to community, sense of purpose and meaning in life or satisfaction with life. It does indicate interesting topics for research. That said, research by Nisbet, Zelenski and Murphy (2010) shows that when people spend time in nature, they enjoy a greater sense of well-being, as well as a greater sense of belonging (relatedness).

This earth day, experiment.

This earth day, why not do some research on yourself?

First, take the Happiness Index. Save your scores.

Next, spend time in nature or with animals. If you can go to the mountains or for a walk in the park, do! If you have pets, spend time playing with them. Garden or plant some seeds in egg cartons. If you live in a place where nature is not accessible, get a plant, or, worst case scenario, spend some time looking at picture or a video or show about nature.

Then, take the Happiness Index again. See if there is a change in your scores.

Spend a little time in nature everyday this week.

At the end of the week, take the Happiness Index again. Compare your scores to what they were when you began your experiment.

Let us know how it goes! We would love to hear your story. Email [email protected]

Note that our happiness index data is gathered from people who choose to take the Happiness Index. This is called a convenience sampling. A convenience sampling means that the data does not necessarily represent the entire population, but it does represent the people who took the survey. The sample size for the data was:
Very satisfied with opportunities to enjoy nature: 997
Satisfied with opportunities to enjoy nature: 1800
Neutral with opportunities to enjoy nature: 854
Dissatisfied with opportunities to enjoy nature: 403
Very dissatisfied with opportunities to enjoy nature: 148

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