There is a lot of talk about Nordic countries being the happiest places. Social services are good, but there is another side of the coin that makes it work. Reasonable expectations about life.
I've often thought that happiness is a function of two things. Expectations versus reality. If expectations are too high, folks can be disappointed. One can be happy with less.
I would guess this also allows people, like the Fins, to accept things like higher taxes, smaller homes and so forth so that their egalitarian society is more feasible. Here in USA, we seem to want it all.
Here is an interesting article from Slate. The Grim Secret of Nordic Happiness.