A recent study from The London School of Economic and Political Science has found that most human misery is linked to failed relationships, mental illness and poor physical health, rather than money problems.
The study was named the Origins of Happiness, and it analysed data from four countries, including Germany and the United States.
The study, which was led by researchers at the London School of Economics (LSE), found that eliminating anxiety and depression would reduce overall misery by a whopping 20%. On the other hand, eliminating poverty would only reduce misery by 5%.
To some people this result isn’t surprising – including lead researcher Lord Richard Layard. He said that on average people haven’t become happier in the last 50 years, even though the average income has more than doubled.
This may be because humans are more emotionally connected to their health and their relationships than they are to their money. That isn’t to say wealth isn’t important; wealth can certainly improve life in a materialistic sense. However you cannot form a bond with money.
Lord Layard believes that this research could be used to improve the overall happiness of people across the world, as governments could start to measure people’s happiness and satisfaction levels based on their relationships and health.
What You Can Do To Be Happier
The research found that the most important things for your happiness are your relationships and your physical and mental health. For that reason you should focus on improving your well-being, rather than your finances.
Here are some tips to help improve your relationships and your physical and mental health.
How To Improve Your Relationships
Fix the failed relationships in your life. If a friendship ended and you were okay with that, you don’t need to try and restart it. Instead focus on the relationships you still feel bad about; maybe you need to apologize to someone for your past behaviour, or perhaps you need to assert yourself. This will make you feel much better about the situation, even if the friendship doesn’t improve.
Focus on the people that you love. Dedicate time every day to nurturing the healthy, happy relationships in your life. Phone a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in a while. Cook a meal and invite friends and family over.
If you are lonely or want to make more friends, find people with similar interests. Start by looking online for interesting forums that you could join or for meet-ups in your area that you could attend. You can also look for local classes, such as yoga or cooking classes.
How To Improve Your Physical Health
Aim to drink 8 glasses of water each day. Water helps to remove toxins from the body and it hydrates your organs, so this is an easy way to improve your health.
Make sure that you get at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
Exercise for 20 minutes, five days a week. You can go for a brisk walk, or you can jog, or you can dance — anything that gets your heart going!
Eat healthy, small, nutritious meals throughout the day. Make sure that your diet includes vegetables, fruit, whole grains and protein. (And don’t forget to occasionally enjoy some chocolate!)
How To Improve Your Mental Health
Keep yourself occupied. Join a club that sounds interesting, build a cupboard, write down your feelings, feed the homeless, speak to a friend, run a hot bubble bath – anything that you think sounds enjoyable and productive.
Switch up your surroundings. If you’ve been in your room for days, put on your coat and go for a walk outside. You could visit a café or go to the park – anything that gives you the chance to get away from the negative thoughts.
Consider speaking to your doctor, therapist, or counselor for additional support and help. Be honest and open about your mental health.