As part of an assinment exercise in their 'Jump for Joy' magazine, teenage students in Mr Keneward Hill's Upper Secondary class were asked to make comparisons between their own country and other countries they know about. Working together on a group project, they researched levels of happiness in the world, finding an increase in happiness among Bulgarians in the last 15 years. They interviewed older relatives – parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents – in order to find out what they attribute this change to and produced the below commentary to show their findings.
When talking about Bulgaria, people are often left with the impression that Bulgarians are unhappy people. The main reasons for this assumption are the low quality of life and the lack of opportunities here.
Luckily things have started to change! The World Happiness Report (WHR) shows a massive increase in happiness among Bulgarians in the last 15 years. Bulgaria is ranked first globally in increased happiness, compared to previous years.
Why have Bulgarians increased their level of happiness most in the world in the past 15 years?
To understand why the sudden change has happened, we need to understand why people were unhappy before. 30 years ago people had very limited opportunities and rights. They weren’t able to develop their full potential. They were poor, couldn’t travel, they couldn’t even move to live in a different city without the country’s permission.
Later, people had more freedom, the ability to travel, access to better education and a secure job with a decent salary and with that came many other positive effects.
After learning how to grasp all these new opportunities, it’s normal for people to start feeling better and happier. The constant improvement of the quality of life has a direct effect on us, even though we don’t actually realise it in the moment. For sure there are more and more playgrounds for kids, places for people to train outside, better roads and places for people to walk, more benches in the parks and all kind of small things, which makes the life of the people more positive.
The country is improving and it helps it build business relationships with other countries. This leads to more investments, more job offers, more freedom. The country has also adopted European values and ideas. People have become more tolerant, open-minded and confident to express themselves. As these ideas get integrated more and more into the mind-set of people in Bulgaria, tolerance has gone up in the country, which makes life for specific groups of people better (and consequently makes them happier).
We can also make a difference in our day to day lifestyle by adopting a better, healthier mind-set and focusing on the small things in our lives or slowing down a bit more in this dynamic world.
In conclusion, the improvement in the happiness of Bulgarians comes from country-wide changes, but also from individuals themselves. All these differences in people’s lives here have led to them feeling happier and more content with themselves and their situation.
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