This page in brief
This page provides references I used to write the pages on happiness, and thus where to get more information on how to be happy.
The information on happiness on this website was taken from the following sources. These reports generally define happiness as day-to-day happiness, life satisfaction as relating to the whole of life, and wellbeing as encompassing these two terms, plus (perhaps) health and other values, but I have not been strict in my use of these terms.
World Values Survey
The World Values Survey shows the variation in wellbeing across 65 countries that include 80% of the world’s population. Worth looking at are:
- Subjective well-being rankings of 82 societies by R Inglehart
- Genes, Culture, Democracy and Happiness by Inglehart and Klingemann
This report shows that people in 90% of countries surveyed are generally happy,and about 75% of people worldwide are satisfied and happy with their lives. The more wealthy, democratic, formerly protestant countries of Europe generally score the highest, whereas most former communist countries score lowest.
- Modernization, cultural change and the persistence of traditional values by Inglehart & Baker
- You can read summaries of the survey’s findings, view the actual data, download data files or analyse it online, and read many other pubications.
World Happiness Report
World Happiness Report, produce for the UN and based on a Gallup world survey, is the most recent global report I have seen. Sections can be downloaded.
The Australian Unity Wellbeing Survey
The Wellbeing Index is based on interviews with thousands of Australians over the last few years. Information is published in reports on the website (e.g. You know what makes you happy – so why aren’t you doing it?) and a summary of the findings of the research can be downloaded.
Harvard Grant Study
A 75 year study of the lives of 268 Harvard graduates:
- Harvard’s 75-Year Study Reveals The Secret To Living A Happy Life. And Here It Is. Sarah Barness, A PLus, 2015.
- The 75-Year Study That Found The Secrets To A Fulfilling Life. Carolyn Gregoire, Huffington Post, 11 Aug 2013.
- What Makes Us Happy?. Joshue Wolf Shenk, The Atlantic, June 2009.
The Australia Institute
An Australian think tank has studied and reported on happiness and material prosperity:
- Downshifting in Australia, Hamilton & Mail, Discussion Paper #50, Jan 03 and Downshifting in Britain, Clive Hamilton, Discussion paper #58.
- Overconsumption in Britain, Clive Hamilton, Discussion paper # 56.
Religion & Society Research
This UK research organisation has published many papers on religion, society and happiness:
- Religion Adds Value to the Happiness Hypothesis – the findings of a 2008-2011 research study.
Reports and studies from the last decade
- A Harvard psychiatrist says 3 things are the secret to real happiness. Tanya Lewis, Business Insider, Australia, 2015.
- Life satisfaction across life course transitions. The Australian Institute of Family Studies (a Government research body), Lixia Qu and David de Vaus, 2015.
- The 8 Most Important Things We’ve Learned About Happiness In The Past 10 Years. Carolyn Gregoire, Huffington Post, 2015.
- Why Chasing ‘Extrinsic Goals’ Can Wreck Your Happiness. Drake Baer, Business Insider Australia, Jul 23 2014.
- Love People, Not Pleasure. Arthur C. Brooks. New York Times, July 18 2014.
- Why Seeking More Money Hurts Happiness. Philip Moeller, US News, April 9, 2012.
- The Problem with Happiness. Todd Kashdann, Huffpost Healthy Living, 30 Sept 2010.
- The path taken: Consequences of attaining intrinsic and extrinsic aspirations in post-college life. Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 43, Issue 3, June 2009, Pages 291–306.
- Money, Sex and Happiness: An Empirical Study. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald. The Scandinavian Journal of Economics Volume 106, Issue 3, pages 393–415, September 2004.
- You’ll never be happier, but keep working at it. Ross Gittins, Sydney Morning Herald, October 3, 2009.
- Key to happiness? Be kind, exercise.. Hannah Booth, Sydney Morning Herald, September 10, 2009.
- We’re richer but not happier. Adele Horin. Sydney Morning Herald. 16 September 2006.
- Hunting for happiness ABC Science Show, August 2006.
- No laughing matter Pilita Clark, July 2006.
- How to be happy. Ross Gittins. Sydney Morning Herald, 4 January 2006.
- Britain’s happiness in decline. BBC News, May 2006.
- Happy ever after…. Julia Stuart. The Independent, 3 January 2005 (edited version in Cape Times).
- Ed Diener, The Pursuit of Happiness.
A new branch of psychology which focuses on helping people live happier lives:
- Authentic Happiness – a website of the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center.
- Happier and Values in Action – commercial websites based on positive psychology principles.