Happiness isn’t just about personal pleasures or individual comfort. How happy we are impacts on every aspect of our lives – including our health, productivity and the future of our environment. That’s why the UN declared 20th March International Happiness Day, an annual celebration of happiness as a human right and a goal for us all.
So what makes you happy?
Where you live
Is it Finland? If so, good news. Finland tops the 2018 rankings for worldwide happiness, up from 5th place – with Norway and Denmark completing the top three.
Don’t be too downcast if you’re here in the UK, however: with a ranking of 19th out of the 156 countries surveyed, we’re not doing too poorly. Bad news for the US, however, which back in 2007 was up at 3rd; it’s now down at 18th place.
The top countries all share more than just a cold climate. They all rank highly for the key factors which are believed to foster happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance.
A sense of belonging
Whether you’re an outspoken extrovert, or more energised by time alone, your relationship with the world around you impacts on your happiness.
You might imagine that indulging in your personal passions is the path to contentment. In fact, studies show that we’re all happier when we feel part of something larger than ourselves. Whether you gain that fulfilment from your career, voluntary work, a proactive friendship group or a sports team, that feeling of inclusion and importance affects your self-perception and your sense of worth.
Of course, we’re not happy all the time. Sometimes life gives you lemons. Let’s be honest, sometimes life pelts you with lemons until you’re down on your knees, wondering when your citrus-based misery will end.
When the going gets tough, it’s your ability to cope with personal challenges that makes all the difference to your wellbeing. Mental health and wellbeing professionals call this resilience: that capacity to recognise and manage pressure and stress. Resilient people are self-aware, and have developed good coping strategies to ensure they don’t become overwhelmed.
If you’re someone who struggles when those lemons appear, there are plenty of great resources available to help you become more resilient.
A good night’s rest
Night-time might seem like the one part of the day when you’re too busy sleeping to worry about happiness. However, don’t discount the huge effect disrupted sleep can have on your mood.
A good routine is essential to establishing a pattern of positive sleep. Switch off the screens an hour before bedtime, to reduce the effect of blue light on the brain. Avoid alcohol; choose a milky drink or something warming and herbal. Prepare your sleeping space to be somewhere inviting, comfortable and relaxing, with dim lighting and soft pillows.
Of course, when you stay at Edgbaston Park Hotel and Conference Centre, we’ll make it easy for you. With a comfy bed, a peaceful setting surrounded by trees, and a soothing colour palette thoughtfully designed with the traveller in mind, all you need to do is drop off.