People are happiest when they are experiencing good mental and physical health, as well as when they have good relationships with partners, family and friends, according to a new landmark study. Researchers at the London School of Economics (LSE) have discovered that money problems and poverty are not key aspects of a person's happiness, with health and emotional connections being the things that define it.
According to LSE's findings, if more work was put into treating depression and anxiety, unhappiness would be reduced by 20 per cent. In comparison, focussing policy on eliminating poverty would only result in a five per cent fall in unhappiness.
Leader of the research, Lord Richard Layard, said that over the last 50 years, people haven't become happier, on average, despite the fact that average incomes have more than doubled, suggesting that money really doesn't bring happiness.
The LSE team conducted extensive research into the best ways to promote wellbeing and reduce unhappiness among the people of the UK. It said that it wants to "revolutionise how we think about human priorities" and promote the "burgeoning new science of 'subjective wellbeing'" a way to measure how successful governance has been, instead of looking purely at the economy.
It found that the things that are most important for happiness, and subsequently misery, are mental and physical health and social relationships. This suggests that more needs to be done to help those suffering from health issues and loneliness in order to improve their wellbeing and quality of life.
The team found that while living standards have improved over the last 40 years, enjoyment from life levels across the UK, Australia, Germany and the US have remained the same, showing that there is more to happiness than economics.
When people were asked to evaluate their education or income, the study found that they measure them against the local norm. This means that overall increases in these factors had very little effect on average happiness of a population. The team found that income inequality was responsible for just a one per cent variation in happiness levels. In comparison, mental health was responsible for a four per cent change.
The study also found that education provided only a small effect on overall life satisfaction, with finding a partner responsible for a much larger change in happiness. When it came to predicting a happy adult life, researchers found that emotional health among children had the biggest impact, not their qualifications.
LSE is hoping that the findings will help to shift strategies toward prioritising wellbeing, which could help vulnerable and lonely people, as well as the larger population.
Barchester Homes work to improve the wellbeing of older people by promoting social interaction and providing support and activities on a daily basis. We understand the importance of emotional and mental health as well as physical health on happiness and strive to ensure all residents' needs are met in a variety of areas.