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Do You Live in One of the Happiest Places in the World?

Where are the happiest places in the world to live? Norway has jumped to first place this year, with Denmark in second, Iceland in third and Switzerland in fourth. After this are Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden. This comes according to the latest World Happiness Report that was released Monday by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the UN.

The US came in 14th, Germany was in 16th and the UK hit the 19th spot. Japan was in the 51st spot while China was in the 79th place.

What were the key measurements that made up the report? Real gross domestic product per capita was one measurement, another was generosity. Other measurements included a healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption and having someone to count on. As explained by Jeffrey Sachs, the report’s co-editor and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University,

“The World Happiness Report continues to draw global attention around the need to create sound policy for what matters most to people — their well-being. As demonstrated by many countries, this report gives evidence that happiness is a result of creating strong social foundations. It’s time to build social trust and healthy lives, not guns or walls. Let’s hold our leaders to this fact.”

The report also focused on happiness in the workplace. As Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, co-author of the report chapter on happiness at work explained, “There is a clear distinction in happiness between white and blue collar jobs with managers or professionals evaluating the quality of their lives at a much higher level than those in manual labor jobs even controlling for any possible confounding factors.”

Interestingly, the report found that the single biggest cause of misery in rich countries was mental illness.

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Enjoying the Work/Life Balance

We can all learn something from Peter Muller and the recent decisions that he’s made. As one of Wall Street’s best quant traders, Peter Muller should be working hard. After working incredibly hard for years, Muller decided in 1999 that he needed a break and he went on a sabbatical.

As he told Business Insider, “I became enormously successful, but I wasn’t as happy or fulfilled.” He travelled the world and used his incredible musical talent as a pianist.

When he returned, he managed to find that work/life balance that is elusive to so many. He told Morgan Stanley that he needed room in his life for music as well as business. As he said,

“I took a big step back. And I figured, I’m going to pursue music… I recorded a couple of albums, and I became executive chairman of the group that I built. And I realized that I needed both [music and work] – they both feed and influence the other.”

He’s been performing with his band at least once a month for the last nine years. And while he has a “crazy, busy life” he manages to perform at least once a month and to give the money to charity.

Here is a sample of his work:

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Ties Between Pregnancy Weight and Cerebral Palsy?

Scientists are warning about a new risk that overweight pregnant people might be taking for their unborn baby. Researchers at the University of Michigan looked at children born in Sweden from 1997-2011 and found that overweight moms put their babies at higher risk for cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy affects one in every 400 births in the US and the UK. Out of the children who were born as part of this study, 3029 children were diagnosed with cerebral palsy out of 1.4 million.

Professor Villamor said, ‘The number of women with a BMI of 35 or more globally doubled from approximately 50 to 100 million from 2000 through 2010. In the US, approximately half of all pregnant women have overweight or obesity at the first prenatal visit. Considering the high prevalence of obesity and the continued rise of its most severe forms, the finding that maternal overweight and obesity are related to rates of cerebral palsy in a dose-response manner may have serious public health implications.”

Researchers have also shown that children are more likely to put on weight if their parents were overweight before they were born.

These are certainly considerations that women should take into account as they think about their health and reproductive future.

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Best Destinations According to Lonely Planet

The Lonely Planet has just hit its 100th issue and they’ve put out a travel guide that is probably worth snapping up. It has 100 of the best adventures in it for those who love to be on the go. Here are just a few of the adventures that they recommend:

  1. Go to Patagonia, Chile and enjoy a trek.
  2. Enjoy a balloon ride over Bagan, Myanmar.
  3. Enjoy a ride on the  Hogwart’s Express in Britain.
  4. Go for a spin on the narrow, ocean-front roads in Amalfi, Italy.
  5. Explore the Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland.
  6. Feel a spirituality with the temples of Angkor, Cambodia.
  7. Climb the Sydney Bridge in Australia.

There is simply so much to do in the world. Get started enjoying it now!

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Vietnam & Luxury Hotel Choices

There are so many places to visit in the world, and certainly it’s not easy to narrow down the list. What makes one place more special than another or more worth your money? While we can’t answer this question for each individual, we can help you to make an educated decision by exploring some of the most amazing places in the world – and one of these is definitely Vietnam.

Vietnam has become a travel hot spot, and with good reason. It has breathtaking landscape, amazing things to explore, friendly people and affordable prices. Vietnam has a number of World Heritage Sites like the Halong Bay, Phong Nha Bang caves, Hoi An Ancient Street and Cham Islands. They are all breathtakingly beautiful and worth seeing. There are many other amazing locations as well including Da Lat, Keo pagoda in Thai Binh province and more.

If you make the trek, do not miss out on enjoying the Luxury Hotel Vietnam experience at a place like Amanoi. This is a resort that is not to be missed. As the Aman debut in Vietnam, the Luxury Hotel Vietnam is a place to behold. It’s close to the Cam Ranh Airport and it includes private accommodations, treatment facilities, sweeping views and serenity. Whether you’ve been out trekking and want a lakeside and tranquil accommodation for a few days, or you’re coming to Amanoi specifically for the experience, you won’t regret this part of the trip.

Keep in mind, as well, that so many people love Vietnam because the people are so friendly. Everywhere that you go, you’ll see people smiling at you and welcoming you. And this is certainly an advantage over locations where the locals can end up being quite cold and unwelcoming.

Let’s not forget, as well, about the delicious food. You’ll find fresh vegetables at every meal, pho and spring rolls galore and many delicious and unique things to eat. Near the beach locations you’ll be able to enjoy fresh seafood as well.

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