What Is Happy ?

What actually makes people happy

There's no formula. When we created the test, we researched what the professionals considered was important to create happiness. A few common themes came up but really these are quite obvious. Particularly the concept that happiness comes from within and an I am happy approach can make all the difference.

Friends & Family
What's important here is not the quantity of friends (or indeed family which can be a little harder to control). What's important is the quality of the friendship and/or the closeness of the family. Humans are not solitary creatures. We need the company of others to get through the day. The definition of 'quality' is a little more difficult though.

Money
There's a lot of debate on this one. There's no question that most people think that winning the lottery will make them happy. However, there's very little relationship between the amount of money someone has and their happiness levels. There's a connection between a lack of money and being unhappy but once food and health are taken care of - the rest is up for grabs.

Work
There's clear evidence that environment, such as a stressful workplace, can make people unhappy. But that's not as clear cut as it sounds. A stressful work environment doens't directly equate to unhappiness. A work environment where talent isn't recognised or skills utilized can be more stressful. However, that's not always the case and it's often the amount of effort that an employee puts into the job that has more reflection on happiness levels.

There is a clear train of thought that making a difference - whatever that may be - in the workplace contributes to happiness. The feeling at the end of the day that something was achieved, created or made better.

Much of this can be related to the 'I am happy' approach where the idea that you put more into the work to get more out.

Being happy within yourself - 'I Am Happy'

Strangely, there also seems to be a general concept of reflective happiness. In effect, saying to yourself that you are happy creates a response within that you are happy. Clearly, conversely, a mindset that you are not happy creates unhappiness.

It's not easy but essentially it's all about positive thinking. The ability to reflect on things in a positive way. To appreciate the things that you have got rather than the things that you haven't (or that other people have). There's a classic statement in modern life when someone rich (and/or famous) comes out and says they are not happy. The typical response is one that 'sure, being a millionaire must be so difficult'. However, the fact is that having material possessions doesn't directly equate to happiness.

The ability to appreciate what you have - even if that's just that morning coffee - can create the most powerful feelings of happiness.