You might be surprised to find that we were reasonably Happy!
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) report published on 1 December is based on a survey that asked four questions:
Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?
Overall, to what extent do you think the things you do in your life are worthwhile?
Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?
Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?
Between 73 and 78 percent of the population rated their answers 7 out of 10 or greater for the first three questions.
The question on anxiety produced a wider spread of answers but even so 57 percent of people scored their anxiety less than 4 out of 10 and only 27 percent scored their anxiety higher than 5.
Perhaps the answers are a bit surprising given the current financial turmoil, increasing pressure on people's lifestyles and uncertainties about the future.
Or maybe it just shows that Happiness is not about what you have but about how you choose to face life, appreciating the positives and valuing personal and social relationships more than the news headlines.
The five week course organised by Paul Newton came to an end on Wednesday 16 November.
Attendees of the course voted it a resounding success. They reported that it enabled them to discover, explore and use a range of simple techniques that raised their awareness of how to experience greater happiness and well-being in their daily lives.
Paul is intending to facilitate further groups in the New Year and course members also discussed how they could use materials from the group to spread the messages in their own social circles.
These materials are available to all Happiness UK website registered members. Find them HERE.
If you might be interested in a future course or meeting, then watch this space or send a message to Organizer@HappinessUK.com
Wednesday, 19th October 2011 at 7:30pm - 9:30pm, Wednesday, 26th October 2011 at 7:30pm - 9:30pm, Wednesday, 2nd November 2011 at 7:30pm - 9:30pm, Wednesday, 9th November 2011 at 7:30pm - 9:30pm, Wednesday, 16th November 2011 at 7:30pm - 9:30pm
Happiness UK (Edinburgh) is partly a response to growing recognition of the need to promote happiness and well-being.
The UK Government are attempting to decide how they can measure happiness and Action for Happiness was recently launched to a fanfare as a non governmental initiative promoted (amongst others) by Lord Richard Layard, the eminent economist.
Little seems to have been happening in Scotland however. The Scottish Centre for Confidence and Well-being has been around now for over 10 years and has done valuable work developing education, training and events promoting cultural awareness and social change. It is largely aimed at professionals and organizations, however, and has a fairly academic focus.
Just discovered recently is the Glasgow Happiness Club, a Meetup Group that offers personal development, training workshop opportunites based on a range of therapeutic approaches at low cost.
The Edinburgh Philosophy and Psychology Group has provided a forum for a more individual and open discussion of many issues and has included Happiness, the Meaning of Life, Living Well and what makes a Wonderful Life among past topics. But it has been suggested we should have a group with a more specific, non academic and experiential focus on how to achieve and maintain a balanced and contented existence.
Of course there are many spiritual and alternative groups who aim to do just that, but usually with a particular perspective in mind. This group will take a more inclusive view while focussing on knowledge, techniques and approaches that have proven of value to the members without the constraints of dogma.
Broadly it will take a Positive Psychology perspective. It will look for ways in which people can develop individual self knowledge, active participation and personal resilience.
Mainly this will be through sharing views, information and resources on the website but there may be meetings and events where there is a clear demand. That will be up to the members.
If this sounds like your kind of group, join up and start participating!