I have a good job, lots of friends, you name it. But I'm not happy[Courtesy, Freepik]

Hi Chris,

On the whole I'd say that my life is going pretty well. I have a good job, lots of friends, you name it. But I'm not happy. I'm not depressed or anything, but there's no joy. Why am I missing out?

Not Happy

Hi Not Happy!

Happiness is a strange emotion. For example ambitious, healthy and attractive young things are often less happy than people who're old, overweight and in poor health, but who have good friends, grandchildren and loving partners. Beautiful people are no happier than everyone else, gender and education makes little difference, and the super rich are no happier than you or I. In fact, people who's priority is getting rich are rarely ever as happy as those who's focus is their friends and family. Because happiness is actually something you choose. It's state of mind.

Like you'll be happier if you count your blessings rather than dwelling on what you don't have. And accept yourself just the way you are. And appreciate the good things in your life, like the people who love you. Because the secret of real happiness is not money, possessions, socialising, or fancy holidays. It's all about how you approach life. So you'll be happier if you smile more, become less self-focused, and more outgoing. In fact that's a self-fulfilling prophecy, because outgoing people are more likely to get married, find interesting work, and to have a larger circle of friends.

Happy people are punctual and efficient. Unhappy people postpone things, turn up late and use their time badly. The happiest people are also unselfish. So you'll be happier if you work with others on a cause bigger than yourself. In fact most people who do voluntary work find that it becomes a huge source of fulfilment and satisfaction. Because happiness doesn't just involve pleasure, it also has to involve meaning. There's so many people who need a helping hand. From family to total strangers. From small kindnesses to huge community projects.

All the best,