If you can bear to look beyond Nicky Campbell’s grinning face, this page makes an interesting point: why is Britain so unhappy?
Apparently Britain is only the 21st happiest country in the world – Ireland, Australia, the US and Israel all coming above us. Switzerland and Togo top the list. So what are we Brits doing wrong? Looking at the criteria the study uses to measure happiness, I’m not entirely sure that you can really measure personal happiness this way, so is the happiness of a population a completely different thing to the happiness of an individual? But surely happy individuals make for a happy country…
The study also estimates that 40% of our happiness is down to the conscious choices we make. Now THAT I can believe. Of course a lot of what makes you feel content is to do with circumstances beyond one’s control but the fact that when you believe yourself to be unhappy, you keep making choices to keep that unhappiness in place. It’s self-perpetuating. I’m not saying you can choose to pull yourself out of a depression, it’s not as easy as that and often circumstances beyond our control can affect the mental space we are in, but once you start to feel able to let go of unhappiness, to start putting yourself first and making positive choices, then life becomes a much more interesting prospect.
But then look at the list of ten things that will make you feel happier. I know from experience that when you are in a depression, nothing seems more difficult than the items on that list. So maybe it should include challenging negative thoughts, being proud of getting through the day unharmed, questioning habits, finding beauty in something and, if you can, try talking to someone.