11 November 2016
If you were asked what would make your happier, what would your answer be?
In many circumstances answers to the magical question of happiness tend to lean to external processions however the science behind happiness reveals otherwise. Materialistic belongings alone rarely determine long-term happiness.
According to a study conducted by the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index (AUWI), true happiness of Australians ultimately comes down to three things:
- Good personal relationships
- A sense of life purpose
- Financial security
Those things that we once thought would make our life better, like the new car that we really wanted or the latest iPhone to hit the market, may not be the key to enduring happiness.
How important are relationships?
The AUWI study of 60,000 Australians, revealed that having a close personal relationship is possibly the most important element to our happiness. An interesting finding was that our relationships don’t have to be of a romantic nature, but having a strong support network is the crucial. Findings from the longest study on happiness confirmed the same results; good close relationships of any kind have the greatest impact on our wellbeing. Watch the YouTube video, Lessons from the longest study on happiness, for insight on the study that analysed the same group of people for 75 years.
What gives us a sense of purpose?
It was also determined that having responsibilities that give us meaning in life play a large role in our happiness. This internal sense of purpose can come from a variety of things; for instance satisfaction from studying, working, volunteering or being a parent – these origins will vary for all of us.
How much does $$$ play a role?
It does not come as a surprise that financial security plays a role in the happiness of Australians. However the study reveals that although money can make us happier, it only does to a certain point. Once gross annual household income reaches $100 000, it takes an awful lot more money to make us even slightly happier. People can achieve normal levels of wellbeing with a low income, as long as they control how they spend.
It is important to note that each element is not sufficient in isolation. Ups and downs may happen from things that happen in our life however if we can positively maintain these three aspects in our lives we will be well on our way to enduring long-term happiness.
The great news is that we do not have to be filthy rich, have 500 Facebook friends or meet “Mr/Mrs right” to be happy!
What do you think determines your happiness?