Can we make ourselves happier?

According to studies collated from around the globe – yes, we can. But the path to happiness may not be where we thought…

Studies from all four corners of the globe have been collated by the World Happiness Database in Rotterdam, offering a few answers to questions we have on achieving happiness. One of the most surprising revelations from the data is that there is a slight negative correlation between the amount of times people mentioned goals during the studies and their happiness.

While many of us would assume that clearly defined goals would lead to happiness, there has been mixed evidence. Professor Ruut Veenhoven (Director of the Database) believes this is because unhappy people are more aware of their goals as they are seeking to make their life better.

Another intriguing result is the lack of correlation between seeing a meaning to life and being happy. Studies reveal that leading an active life, and being ‘involved’ leads to happiness far more so than seeing a meaning to life.

Can we make ourselves happier?

The best news from the World Happiness Database is that we can in fact make ourselves happier – and not just through external factors like having more money.

“Research has shown that we can make ourselves happier because happiness does change over time,” says Professor Veenhoven, “and these changes are not just a matter of better circumstances but of better dealing with life. Elderly people tend to be wiser, and for that reason, happier.”

So what can we do to make ourselves happier? The collated studies say that you tend to be happier if you:

  • are engaged in politics
  • are in a long-term relationship
  • go out for dinner
  • are active in your job and in your free time
  • have close friendships.

Other surprising findings include:

  • You are more likely to feel happy if you think you are good looking (irrespective of your actual, objective beauty).
  • People who drink in moderation are more likely to be happier than those who don’t drink at all.
  • Having children will lower your happiness levels, but they will increase again when they grow up and leave home.

If you want to learn more about what will make YOU happy, why not speak to a life coach? For more information on how they could help, please see our Personal Development page.

View and comment on the original BBC News article.

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Written by Katherine
Kat is a Senior Writer for Life Coach Directory and Happiful magazine.

Written by Katherine

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