The old folk saying “If you’ve got your health you’ve got your wealth” is finding new proponents from a recent study done by the London College of Economics, under the direction of Lord Richard Layard. Layard, who holds advanced degrees in medical science, economics, philosophy, and psychology, is quoted as saying “Research shows more clearly than ever that there is a direct correlation between a person’s physical and emotional health and their happiness and satisfaction with life.”
“The evidence suggests,” according to McKay Brown, a director at doTERRA, “that the things that matter most for our happiness or our misery are our social relationships and our mental and physical health.”
These findings must be presented to lawmakers and policymakers at the highest level in order to convince them that government programs to end poverty and boost employment, while praiseworthy in and of themselves, are not going to be as effective in helping people as programs that protect and provide for their physical and mental health. Failed relationships and chronic health problems account for more enduring poverty and underperformance than the lack of an MBA.
Government programs like Head Start and other social experiments may have a “feel-good” aura about them, but in the long run they have not proven to be very effective in either raising the standard of living or raising the level of happiness in the general population of the United States. No one doubts their good intentions; it’s the results that have been a letdown. On the other hand, direct government intervention in healthcare to insure people have quick and affordable access to good professional medical care has put people back to work after years of unemployment and depression, which adds money to tax rolls and inevitably boosts self-esteem, which in turn ratchets up the rate of happiness.
The London College study used information gathered from over five thousand individuals during a ten-year period. Lord Layard says the findings show that while just 1 percent of those studied felt unhappy over their income inequality, over 5 percent felt unhappy because of mental problems. And education was not a deciding factor in any of those represented in the study, when compared with physical wellbeing and mental health.
The London College study was begun when statisticians started to take the amount of world happiness seriously as a measurable item. Their studies showed that a country like Denmark, which earmarks large amounts of government funds for basic healthcare and mental health programs, consistently rates at the top of the happiest countries on earth; while countries like Germany, Japan, and the United States, considered to be the wealthiest countries on earth (and also the ones who make the most money blogging) but which were not so well-equipped with healthcare options for its citizens, were rated in the lower percentiles of happiness.
The conclusion is clear. If governments truly want the best for their citizens and want their country to prosper and remain stable, they must loosen the purse strings to guarantee that everyone has equal access to professional and competent healthcare so that treatable conditions are caught in time. It also means governments must make the best mental health techniques available to push back the rates of depression, addiction, and other mental health issues that currently threatens to cripple as much as a third of some nation’s adult working populations. This kind of informed policy will keep countries strong and protected better than all the armies, munitions, and other so-called “security measures” in the world.