Costa Rica promotes itself as being a country with happy people. But no one seems to be able to figure out why. Certainly the pace of life is slower, and the country is not involved in any foreign military adventures. It can’t because there is no military.
The various happiness indexes are a bit suspect. For example, Costa Rica was ranked right up there with Vietnam in one.
However, the country consistently rates highly in studies of contentment, peace of mind and other desirable traits.
Could this be because Costa Rica is so green?
Mathew P. White and colleagues from the University of Exeter decided to try to pin down suggestions that there was a relationship between green space and happiness.
In research published this week, they compared the mental health of hundreds of Britons who had moved from a grey city neighborhood to a greener one with those who had moved in the opposite direction.
Looking at the data over the course of five years, they found that people who had moved to a greener area were happier and stayed happier after their move.
Just imagine if the Brits moved to Costa Rica instead. The country has about 25 percent of its land area in national parks and reserves. Trees are sacred. There are nearly 200 protected areas including national parks, reserves and forests.
The urban areas are not far from the countryside, and planting trees is a national pastime.
And then there is the rain to keep it all well watered.