Recently in a survey we held with Top Sante, we attempted to measure people’s happiness. A tricky one you may wonder, how do you measure happiness? Well to answer that, we need to know what happiness is.
Happiness is a reactive response to circumstances – we aren’t happy, for example, when we stub our toe. Often “happiness” measurements in the field of psychology are a measure of wellbeing or our quality of life. Demanding to be in a constant state of happiness is just not possible – it’s essentially inconsistent with our own reality. So in essence, “happiness” is a choice we make about how we feel about our quality of life and our wellbeing, both mentally and physically. With this in mind, we were able to create a number of questions, grouped together, in order to measure our “happiness”.
Here are some interesting points from the survey….
Cheerful and in good spirits
One of the questions within the survey made a basic statement, “I feel cheerful and in good spirits”, to which the respondents had 6 options to answer. A good result from this question was that no one answered “Almost Never” to this statement, phew. Interestingly the majority of those questioned (38%) opted for the “Somewhat Frequently” response, while 18% answered “Almost Always” – lucky them…
Curiously as we get older it seems we are more likely to opt for the “Somewhat Frequently” response, with 10 times as many 36-40 year olds opting for this response compared with 18-25 year olds.
I enjoy new activities
Our happiness is not just about our emotional health and well-being, it’s also about our physical well-being. To get a sense of physical well-being, our survey asked how much “I enjoy new activities”.
Here it seems the younger we are, the more likely we are to enjoy new activities, perhaps that saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” comes from us not wanting to try new things as we get older. However, these results could also mean that as we get older we know what we enjoy and equally, we know the kinds of activities we won’t enjoy. Again, the “Somewhat Frequently” response was the most popular (38% respondents selecting this option).
Feel how you think
When unpleasant, frustrating things happen, we can hold two sets of beliefs about them. Healthy or rational ones lead us to feel sad, annoyed perhaps even regretful, while unhealthy or irrational beliefs lead us to feel anxious, depressed or self denigrating. If we have healthy beliefs, then we will be able to move on, and be happy again.
Another important aspect to our emotional and mental well-being is monitoring our progress in life. It’s good for us to set regular time for personal reflection, to check how we are doing and to ensure we haven’t regressed into some old habits, or ways of thinking we are trying not to do. If we are progressing well, then we will be happier with our day to day lives and our accomplishments.
The way in which we think, is the way we feel. So essentially, we are saying that happiness is a choice you can make…