When you compare the world’s happiest societies, workplaces and relationships, what you end up with is a common theme: trust.

The recurrent top 5 happiest countries in the world are also found to be regulars in the top 5 of the world trust rankings. These rankings are determined by how highly citizens rate their fellow countrymen as trustworthy. It makes sense as, in Denmark, a mother who can leave her pram outside a shop, while she peruses the shelves without worry, would be happier than in other countries, where parents feel high levels of stress and anxiety if they lose sight of their child for even a moment. Of course, that level of trust comes from extremely low crime, which comes from a whole variety of other social policies like welfare, economics and societal engagement, which you can learn more about here.

The happier countries also rank extremely highly for transparency and low corruption in their democracy, meaning that not only do they trust each other, but they can trust their politicians too.

Workplaces mirror these findings, whereby employees who trust each other have a higher job satisfaction resulting in a lower employee turnover. Workers who have higher autonomy tend to be more productive and more satisfied in their job – partly because they feel that their superiors trust them to do a good job.

In couples, it is common knowledge that it is much more rewarding to be involved with a partner that you can trust and rely upon. In the world’s longest study in happiness (75 years and counting), it was found that the best predictor of living into old age was nothing to do with blood pressure or cholesterol readings – it was to do with having a high-quality relationship where each partner felt they could trust and rely upon the other. You can watch Robert Waldinger, current leader of the study, give his TED talk here, or read more about what has been discovered from his research here.

What does this mean for me?

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