The recession is a global shock wave that is forcing everyone to rethink the pursuit of happiness. Happiness research shows that, in spite of a golden era of economic growth, happiness levels have not increased in the UK since 1950. Since 1957, the number of Britons who describe themselves as "very happy" has plummeted from 52 percent to 36 percent.
Our most basic assumptions about what happiness is, and what will make us happy, are now being tested. Happiness researchers confirm that money is important for basic needs like food, rent and clothes. Thereafter, the link between higher income and increased happiness has been described in one 16-nation study as "surprisingly weak" and "virtually negligible." In fact, a third of all millionaires are less happy than the national average. Real, enduring happiness cannot be bought.
The Reality Check
The recession is an opportunity to do a reality check on what is truly important to you and what isn't. Happiness research shows that people with consistently high happiness scores demonstrate an ability to prioritize their lives according to their true values. In other words, they've worked out what is most important to them, and they don't allow themselves to get sidetracked by unnecessary busyness, hurry, money or other distractions.
To do a reality check, set aside some time to ask yourself questions like, "What do I really value?" and "What do I most appreciate?" and "When am I truly happy?" You don't have to do this on your own; you could do it with your partner or a friend. You can even get the whole family around the kitchen table to do a reality check on what is most important to you as a group. To be happy, it's important to remember what's really important.
"The Rich List"