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Are Women in the United States Happy?

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U.S. Women Are Not Feeling Happy

U.S. Women Are Not Feeling Happy- What’s the Matter?


happyface U.S. Women Are Not Feeling HappyI know I’ve been talking a lot lately about finding balance.  Why?  Because when we find balance in our everyday lives it can truly lead to more happiness and better health.  Yes, I’m talking about eating right, working less, playing more and juggling all those balls in the air with ease.

One night, I heard Oprah calling my name from the DVR.  My husband was out, kids were in bed, work was finished and I thankfully ignored the dishes piled in the sink and the overflowing laundry baskets.  I don’t know how I did it, but I did.  I passed right by those sticky dishes and wrinkled clothes and got a cup of tea (pat on the back for me.)

“Watch Me!” I heard her voice go on.

I flipped through my very old DVR listings and saw “Meet the World’s Happiest Women.”  How could I resist?  I hit play.  Afterall, happiness is contagious and we can all use a little advice on how to be happy- especially after a long day at work and/or at home with the kids.

The episode looked at how women live all over the globe from Dubai, Brazil, Japan and Denmark.  Apparently women in Denmark were ranked #1 (U.S. was #23) for happiness by a social psychologist in England.  What makes the Danes so happy?

First, they get 6 months to 1 year of paid maternity leave.  Hmmm…somehow I wasn’t feeling so happy about the 8 weeks of paid leave I had after each of my three kids were born.  I got less paid time off with all three than they get in Denmark with one.

If you lose your job in Denmark, the government will pay you 90% of your salary for up to 4 years.  Healthcare is FREE and, if that’s not enough, the government pays your kids to go to college.  Yep- families don’t pay.  The Denmark government pays the tuition and the students get about $500.00/week.  What a weight to be lifted off of your shoulders not having to dump a portion of your paycheck into 529 accounts.  I will mention they do have a much higher income tax rate over there.  But if everything else is taken care of does that matter?

There was also a tour of a “typical” house in Denmark.  It seems as if they have a lot less “stuff” cluttering up their homes and lives. How many times have you gone through your closets, basement or garage and felt completely overwhelmed?  While I like to think I’m happy, I admit half the time I’m so worn out from all the multi-tasking going on.  I also think about how much easier life would be if I had a little more help and a little less STUFF!

The Oprah Show went on to show a beautiful working mother, a doctor, with four kids in Dubai.  The woman had a strong family support system (living next door), huge home, live in house maid and her mother sends 3-4 meals over each day- so no dirty kitchen to cleanup.  Who wouldn’t feel happier with all that extra help around?  Really, it would be lovely to get home from work and have nothing to do but giggle with the baby, play My Little Ponies with my daughter or do a puzzle with my son.

Even with supportive spouses, working mothers in this country usually take on so much more of the home responsibilities.  Last year, Working Mother Magazine surveyed 500 women in this country and found that 1 in 5 working moms are depressed and 91.4 % have experienced depression at some time, many feeling this way after the traditional post partum period.  One key trigger this study found was “the gap between how a working mom feels she should be behaving and how she believes she is.”    We are just down right hard on ourselves.  I know I am.

How can women in this country move up the ladder on the “Happiest Women Scale?”  Personally, I know many women and Mom friends who work full time and many that stay at home with their kids.  Regardless, it seems a large number are unhappy and have even gone on anti-depressants.  What is the answer?

Do we need to tone down the over-scheduling?  Can we help each other out more?  Do we need more family time?  More Sleep?  More exercise?  Or is it cultural and we are just too hard on ourselves in the U.S.- feeling the pressure to look good, do the “right’ activities and have the perfect lives?  With so many things pulling at us, how do we focus on the things that really matter most in our lives and JUST BE HAPPY?

Share your IDEAS Please Girls!

 U.S. Women Are Not Feeling Happy

Diva Dietitian

Kristie Finnan is a Registered Dietitian/Licensed Nutritionist, Freelance Writer and Published Children's Author. She is the Mom of 3 and Food Snob with a passion for Nutrition Education, Healthy Kids Foods, Marketing and Social Media. Kristie is the Creative Director/Editor for www.DivaDietitian.com and www.KidsLoveFood.com & Founder of www.DoylestownNutrition.com. Diva Dietitian blogs in Full Disclosure. Please see: http://kristiefinnan.com/about/disclosure.

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