Should we just strive to be healthy, or does it make sense to pursue happiness as well? 'It really does', says Ruut Veenhoven, the godfather of happiness studies (EUR). He compares being unhappy with pain: it's an indicator that there is obviously something wrong in your life. 'Try to change that, and you will feel so much better'.
Just like health, happiness is determined by many different things. First of all the basic stuf, like a fair income and a social life. But happiness is also byproduct of keeping yourself busy. It doesn’t really matter in what way: taking care of your family, working, or a hobby.
Certain circumstances, like living in a developed society, makes everything easier. But you still you have to make the right choices, such as a suitable job and a partner. Bear in mind, however - happiness is not entirely feasible: feeling happy is also genetic.
It is certainly useful to compare your happiness with that of others, says Veenhoven. ‘For example: people are generally less happy at work than at home. But if someone gives his happiness at work a 6 and you give it a 4, you maybe have the wrong job. And in general: if you see that your average happiness grade is really different from others, try to change your life. If you can't, you must accept that. Or count your blessings!'