Are Brazilians happier?
This is a comment made by a Brazilian, in broken English, when asked what he missed about Brazil. We hear a lot that even poor Brazilians, sometimes living in slum-like environment, seem happy. What is the reason for that? Brazilians put friends, family and celebrations ahead of possesions. True, Brazilians love an iPhone and a flat screen TV or even a nice imported car. But there are other things that make them happy: football (soccer), churrasco with friends (barbecue), beach (free), cold beer (cheap), open channels on TV (free), nature (free). This capacity to be joyful and playful even in the face of bad living conditions, long lines for healthcare, packed public transportation, low minimum wages and high criminality in big cities is inherent to a population that doesn’t take life (or work) too seriously. Here are some reasons that may make Brazilians happier than other nationalities:
1) Warm engaging personalities, curiosity. Brazilians are usually extroverts and like to talk to everyone, even strangers. Brazilians are people-people. They like to live in dense population areas because they like to be around people. Brazilians are not fond of living too isolated.
2) Brazilians don’t take religion too seriously. Even if they call themselves Catholic, they don’t frequent church with assiduity and don’t let religious doctrines run their lives, prejudice and all.
3) Brazilians are more open to sexuality. There is less guilt about revealing clothes or showing the human body.
4) Tighter family ties. It is more common than in developed countries for families to live in the same city and see each other frequently. There is overall less loneliness.
5) Brazilians love romance. People don’t stay single long, or live without relationships.
6) Brazilians work hard despite their fame of being party people, but they do not let work be their everything. Making a lot of money is not as important as survival.
7) Brazilians take vacations, 20 to 30 days a year. That says a lot.
8) Brazilians love to celebrate carnaval, soccer games, weddings, etc. Social life is important. That is good for mental health.
Walking in the streets of Rio or any other city in Brazil, you see happy people. Are they really happy? Isn’t there depression and sadness? Of course. But it is a general impression that people are slightly happier than in other places, even if it is just stereotyping.
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