Updated: Apr 2
Unless you've been asleep for the last few years, you can't fail to have noticed the explosion of interest in "happiness" in our culture and media.
Happiness in the moment
One of the problems with trying to measure or improve our happiness is that it is hard to pin down exactly what it means. But, we all know when we feel happy in the moment and there are many different ways to describe happiness depending on what we are feeling at the time - we might be 'happy', 'excited', 'feeling good', 'ecstatic', 'confident', 'content' or 'relaxed'.
What about 'overall' happiness?
It gets trickier when we think about our 'overall' happiness (Am I a happy person?). If we asked you how happy you generally are, how would you answer?
Research shows that people's answers tend to depend on two things - their 'peak' happiness on the day they were asked (or in other words, what experience did they have on that day that made them feel so happy it was memorable and stood out) and their happiness in the moment before they were asked the question.
What's interesting is that most of us struggle to objectively know how happy we are over an extended period of time. We tend to about forget positive experiences if they are overshadowed by bad ones. We also can underplay little moments of happiness throughout the day, but we can make ourselves 'happier' if we deliberately ask ourselves to remember all the good things that happened to us.
The problem with most happiness surveys
Most happiness questionnaires and quizzes ask you to answer questions like 'over the last week or month how satisfied have you been with your life', or 'how happy have you felt'?. The issue is how can you remember? Plus, it's not really that helpful as there is nothing in those questions to help you think about what you could do to improve your happiness. It's a bit like developing a questionnaire to measure your nutrition and asking "did you eat healthily this month"? Pretty useless
Why asking about 'happiness behaviours' is better
In our LifeAge test we take a different approach. We ask how often you do a number of behaviours that are linked to different types of happiness. Developed by Professor Rob Nolan, a psychologist at Toronto General Hospital, research shows the more of these behaviours that people adopt, the more they feel happier and healthier. In fact even in a group of people who had heart failure the more of these behaviours that they followed, the more likely they were to report better quality of life and the less likely they were to end up in hospital.
So, what can you do to stay happy?
The good news is that there is plenty you can do to maximise your happiness and feel at your very best.
We have a range of support to help.
1) Take our free Life Age assessment to find out if your current lifestyle is helping to keep you happy. In the assessment there are a number of questions that ask you about how frequently you perform behaviours that are associated with higher levels of happiness and wellbeing. The more you do the better your score will be. If your score isn't a bright green then don't worry! You can always find small ways to get happier just by doing more of those things every day.
2) The Younger Living Edit
If you need some support, we have range of expert habit change services to help, ranging from books and habit trackers, group programs and private coaching.
Finally, PLEASE SHARE this article with any friends and family who you think would find this useful. We are on a mission to help as many people as we can feel happier, more fulfilled and years younger - so would really appreciate your help to get our message out there.