A new study from University of Toronto researchers says that Canadians are the happiest people in the developed world, beating out many other rich countries by as much as six percentage points.
The findings suggest Canadians are more likely to dance to music that has a lot of lyrics than dance to songs that have lots of melody.
The researchers, from the U of T’s Department of Dance and Music, examined data from more than 50,000 dance videos uploaded by dance groups around the world and asked people whether they danced to songs with lyrics that were more upbeat or somber.
Those who did danced more to songs about family and friends, love and life than those who danced to more upbeat songs.
“We believe that people are happy when they dance to upbeat music,” said Dr. Anurag Gupta, a professor of dance and music at the University of Ottawa and co-author of the study.
“This is in contrast to other cultures, where people tend to dance less when they are stressed or depressed.
So, this is a positive message for dance.
But people can dance to other things as well, like dance music and dance videos.”
The study also found that Canadian dance music has a higher proportion of upbeat lyrics than the other music genres.
Dr. Gupta’s team also found some trends that suggest Canadians might be happier than people in other parts of the world.
People in poorer countries are more inclined to dance in groups and often wear masks, which may be a way of coping with social isolation, Dr. Gupta said.
In contrast, in wealthier countries, dancing to upbeat songs is more common.
People who live in places with more dancing are less likely to smoke, and dance is more likely among young people, according to the study, published in the journal PLOS ONE.
While it’s not possible to say whether Canadians are happier than other people, Dr Gupta said they are likely to be more upbeat and more connected to each other, which can make them happier and more likely a good fit for social situations.
“People may also be happier when they’re around people who are similar to themselves in a variety of ways,” Dr. Rajesh Kumar, a co-lead author and associate professor of health and social policy at U of Toronto, said in a news release.
“So, we think that maybe dancing helps us be more sociable.”
Dr. Kumar said the results were consistent across all age groups.
For example, older people were more likely than younger people to dance, but this was no different from people in all age categories who were less likely than others to dance.
“The more social life you have, the happier you are,” Dr Gupta added.
He also pointed out that there are some limitations to the results.
Dr Gupta and his colleagues compared dancing to different songs and asked participants to rate each song on a scale of one to five.
Some songs were considered to be less upbeat than others, while others were considered upbeat and others were not.
There were some notable differences in the music genres, the researchers noted.
The top five songs were: R&B (30), country (21), hip-hop (18), pop (17), rock (14) and rap (10).
But Dr. Singh noted that the results showed that Canadians have a wide range of music tastes.
For instance, the top songs that are considered upbeat are country and hip-hoppers, but Dr. Jagjivan Krishnan, a music expert and music professor at the Ryerson University, said the music of dance has a variety.
“I think it’s very important to remember that dancing is about making people feel good and being connected to others,” he said.
Dr Singh and Dr Kumar said their study does not prove that dancing helps people live happier lives.
“Our research has not shown that dancing promotes happiness in the long run, and it certainly doesn’t prove that it’s the best way to lead a good life,” Dr Kumar added.
But he added that dancing might be a positive activity for some people.
“You can do it in your bedroom, on the dance floor, or at a bar,” he added.
Dr Kumar and Dr Gupta say their study has important implications for the world of dance.
They said dance can promote positive emotions and social interaction, as well as increase self-esteem and wellbeing.
“It’s a great way to engage people in conversation, and you can also make it a lot more social,” Dr Singh said.
“For people who have some anxiety, it’s a wonderful way to get some peace and calm and quiet.”
Dr Gupta agreed.
“Dancing is a great activity to get people together, and when people dance, they connect with each other,” he told CBC News.
“Asking them questions and making sure that everyone is happy and comfortable is really important.”
The researchers hope their findings help spark a discussion about how to promote happiness and connect people with other people.
Dr Vijay Mistry,