Yesterday the Office of National Statistics released its findings as part of the inaugural subjective wellbeing survey commissioned by David Cameron in an attempt to chart the nation’s happiness alongside economic data such as GDP.
Whilst you may disagree with its subjectiveness, cost of £2m a year and view it as being “candy floss – sweet but insubstantial”, there is no escaping that the subject of happiness has been gaining momentum over the past decade.
Highlights from the survey shows that being employed, older, in good health and the further you are from London, the greater your levels of wellbeing and satisfaction. Unsurprisingly, those who run companies such as directors and managers ranked themselves lower than those in professional occupations such as doctors and teachers.
Earlier research on happiness indicates that:
- Money doesn’t buy happiness – increased income has a very small correlation with happiness for most people (except those who live in the conditions of poverty, in which money can help provide basic necessities)
- It’s the journey of progressing towards our goals rather than achieving the goal itself that makes us happy
- Commuting in slow traffic to work is reported as one of the most unpleasant activities of the day
- Increased time with family and friends makes you happier
- When you are so engaged in what you are doing you lose track of time. Being in the ‘flow’ or ‘zone’ makes you happy
So what does us happy? We are all different and there are many routes to happiness. The trick is to find what makes you happy and to do more of it!
This made me reflect on what do I do to sustain my happiness? I came up with :
- Frequent and conistent time with family and friends – usually over food and drink
- Running outdoors and getting that sense of connection to something bigger
- Keeping my eyes, ears and heart open to the wonders around me
- Making a difference to my family, friends, community and clients
- Learning, staying curious and expanding my worldview
I came across this clip of 88-year-old Bermudian Johnny Barnes who stands on a roundabout every weekday from 4 – 10 am. It makes him happy, gives him purpose and gives others joy. Watch it and don’t ask why but why not?
What helps you to flourish? What are the top 5 things that you do repeatedly that makes you happy?
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