What Makes Us Happy?

We all want to be happy, right? We like to think that we deserve to be happy and I think we do. Have you ever thought about what is it that would make you truly happy and content?

What is it that really makes us happy? Even though it is believed that having children was our greater happiness, this may surprise you. According to research this is a less optimistic conclusion. A survey also reveals that spending time with our family makes you far less happy than being with friends. The London School of Economics researchers collated data from smartphone users who used an app to log their levels of happiness over a three-year period.

The Mapiness app was designed by academic George MacKerron with the LSE that works by sending alerts to users at random intervals, asking them how happy and relaxed they were feeling at that moment, what they were doing and who they were with. The app, downloaded by about 50,000 people, logged 3 million responses. Respondents’ moods improved by more than 8% when with friends, but fell to 5.9% when with their partners. Happiness levels rose by 1.4% improvement in mood when they were with clients or customers at work. These results were surprising for those who took part in the survey.

women laughing while having a picnic

Who makes us happy? Here is the list!

  • Friends 8.2%
  • Spouse/partner 5.9%
  • Other family 2.9%
  • Children 1.4%
  • Colleagues/classmates 0.6%

Is that surprising to you? Evidence is mixed when it is generally assumed that you need goals to lead a happy life.

Here are the results:

  • Intimacy/making love 14.2%
  • Theatre/dance/concert 9.3%
  • Exhibition/museum/library 8.8%
  • Sports/exercise 8.1%
  • Gardening/allotment 7.8%
  • Singing/performing 6.9%
  • Talking/chatting/socializing 6.4%
  • Nature Watching 6.3%
  • Walking/hiking 6.2%
  • Hunting/fishing 5.8%
  • Drinking alcohol 5.7%
  • Hobbies/arts and crafts 5.5%
  • Meditating/religious activities 4.9%
  • Sports event 4.4%
  • Childcare/playing with children 4.1%

The top 10 things that make us least happy are reading 1.5%, listening to a speech 1.4%, washing/dressing/grooming 1.2%, sleeping/resting, relaxing 1.1%, smoking 0.7%, browsing the net 0.6%, texting/email/social media 0.6%, housework/DIY -0.7%, traveling/commuting -.5% and in a meeting/seminar/class 1.5%.

Unhappy people are more aware of their goals because they seek to change their life for the better. We need to be active in order to achieve a happy life, so involvement is more important to happiness than the meaning in the sense of why, why we are here. Happiness changes over time by better dealing with life. Elderly people tend to be wiser and for that reason, happier.

Those who spent an hour on their journey to work were found to be significantly less happy than those who did not commute. I have to admit that some of the percentages of what made people happy, surprised me! For me, my interaction with our patients at New Hope Unlimited, their family and friends, my employees, and my own precious family gives me happiness and contentment. I am blessed because of my family, friends and work.

Dr Fredda Branyon