Just in time for the end of winter, the United Nations issued their World Happiness Report, with a startling decline in happiness among young people under 30 here in the U.S.

Of all the countries on Earth who participated in the surveying and data collection, Americans 60 years and older rank in the top 10 for happiness.  But angst has gripped more Americans 30 and younger, so that they rank 62nd in the world for happiness.  That sharp decline pulled the United States down from the top 20 happiest nations, from 15th to 23rd.

What's causing this Unhappiness?

I heard about this happiness gap on Montana Talks with Aaron Flint, featuring guest Evelyn Pyburn from the Big Sky Business Journal.  They discussed why should youngsters be discontent, since they have smartphones and social media apps and the world at their fingertips.  Instant gratification.  Perhaps that novelty has worn off and the electronic devices don't provide the same excitement anymore.

Another reason proposed is the wealth gap.  Adults over 60 have more assets and resources than the younger peers.  But as Evelyn had pointed out "So when was that ever not the case?"  Here's a little secret for all you twenty-somethings: the older generations likely started with the same bank balances and net worths you have now.

With the few exceptions of Donald Trump, Paris Hilton or the Kardashians Girls, nearly everybody starts with little and has to build up.  And it takes time and work.  For my earlier thoughts on this, read Building Wealth Takes Time.

Happy family: mother, father, children son and daughter on nature on sunset.
Credit: evgenyatamanenko, Getty Images, TSM Media Center

What Should Teens and Young Adults Do?

I'm sure you have heard these before, yet this could be the reminder needed:

  • Set aside the Smartphone.  We may be scrolling through the pages of apps, looking for that quick dopamine hit to cheer us up.  That thing may have become a waste of time.  There are better things you can be doing, like...
  • Go visit a Friend.  Connect with an organic being who will be in your corner and support you without judgement.  Someone warm and soft, without screens or passwords.  Animals like dogs and cats certainly qualify.  They could also have the insight you need or inspire the answers you seek.  And while you are with them...
  • Play.  Be it a game or a sport or a hobby.  Most chores and problems will wait for a bit until you are ready to deal with them.  Best place to play?
  • Go Outside.  Sunshine and fresh air will clear the mind.  And they're free.
  • Read a Book.  No one nearby?  Pick up a physical book that doesn't need a charger or touchscreen.  It has touch pages instead.  And it will transport you to another place without packing or warp speed.
  • Hug.  If you are with someone or a cuddly animal, hug them.  I think it's the one thing an electronic device can't provide, that genuinely caring contact.
Credit: Travis Lee, TSM
Credit: Travis Lee, TSM

Actually, I could use a Hug...

Any young, pretty lady out there is welcome to come give me a hug.  Would make our day...

(long pause)

Must be Springtime...I'm hearing crickets...

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