Malaysia's World Happiness Ranking was 81st out of 149 countries according to the World Happiness Report 2021* collated by a group of independent experts.
The highest ranking countries were Finland, Iceland and Denmark despite their long, dark and bleak winters. The unhappiest country was Afghanistan, followed by Zimbabwe and Rwanda.
Malaysia's ranking of 81st was lower than you might have expected, lower than Thailand (54th), the Philippines (61st), Vietnam (79th) and only just ahead of Indonesia (82nd). Singaporeans were apparently the happiest in the region, coming in at 32.
The experts' methodology was complex but asked 1000 or so respondents from each country to assess three main indicators: life evaluations, positive emotions and negative emotions in order to come up with a national score. Factors such as GDP per capita, level of social support, healthy lifestyle expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and perceptions of corruption were assessed to explain some of the results.
What could be done to make Malaysians happier? Don't stress too much about the future, don't worry about money and avoid debt, find work you enjoy, aim for stable married life and relationships, and volunteer to help others. These are some of the things which have been found to bring happiness. Just relax and eat some more delicious food lah!
* Source: World Happiness Report 2021. Much of the report concerns the impact of Covid-19 but it did not affect Malaysia's ranking since there was no survey information for Malaysia in 2020 so pre-Covid averages from 2018-2019 surveys were used.