Happiness is a goal that is increasingly present in today’s society. According to a United Nations report, Costa Rica is the happiest country in Latin America, and at the same time occupies the twelfth position in the world. The region is followed by Mexico (23), Chile (26), Guatemala (27) and Panama (31).

Is it easy to measure the happiness of a country? It depends. The UN takes into account aspects such as education, social programs, life expectancies, government efficiency or corruption. This year, with special emphasis on the community and the influence of information technologies.

Finland tops the world list. Also, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Holland, New Zealand and, Canada appear. In the last places are South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Tanzania and Rwanda.

In his book “The Growth Delusion”, David Pilling says that the happiness of people does not depend on absolute, but rather on relative wealth according to those around them.

Speaking to the newspaper “Expansión”, Pilling admits the relationship between GDP and happiness, “because it seems quite clear that citizens of the poorest countries have it more difficult to be happy, but it is not an exact and direct correlation”, since “some who have a lot of money declare themselves unhappy, and some who are poorer say they are happy”.

I don’t think that there is only one way to measure happiness, but there are minimum conditions for personal and collective well-being. It is imperative a material base that guarantees the issues of first necessity, such as feeding, dressing, working and decent shelter to which are added quality education and health for all.

Proper nutrition is so fundamental that a study from the University of Leuven, in Belgium, revealed that happiness begins in the intestine. As you read: some gut bacteria produce positive effects on mood and a poor intestinal flora leads to depression.

You have probably heard about serotonin, the neurotransmitter that regulates moods. Well, according to the research, 95% occurs in the gastrointestinal tract. Then you can make sure that the bacteria in the intestine control the mood.

Happiness is multifactorial. Despite the shortcomings of some ranking, now I see the glass half full. Welcome to those studies and reports that seek to deepen the subject.