By: William Verity and Yasmin Parry.
The latest instalment of one of Australia’s largest wellbeing surveys has found that besides genetics, there are three simple indicators of a happy life.
Financial security, a sense of purpose in life, and good personal relationships make up the “golden triangle” of happiness.
The Australian Wellbeing Index has been conducted twice a year over the last 15 years and involves more than 60,000 participants.
But beyond the “golden triangle” of happiness, the researchers made some other surprising findings.
Here are five more indicators of happiness according to the survey.
1. Social media: Moderation is key
While there was no difference in happiness between people who spent no time on social media, compared with those who spent over an hour a day, researchers said moderation appeared to be the key.
Those of us who used social media for just 30 minutes a day were the only group to report happiness above the normal range.
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According to report author, Professor Robert Cummins of Deakin University, there has been a surprising and continuing spike in the levels of teenage contentment since 2007, the year that social media came of age.
”It may very well be the case that the social media is allowing them a sense of community, a sense of connection with one another which was much more difficult for them to achieve prior to that era,” he said.
2. Dads happier, mums remain the same
The report found fathers tended to be happier than men without children, but women’s happiness stayed the same whether they had children or not.
The researchers said this could be because family was the greatest source of contentment and happiness for men throughout their lives, whereas women were able to maintain social connections beyond the family unit.
Not only that, but those parents who had regular contact with their mother and mother-in-law reported being happier overall.
3. Resilient in face of ill health
Another surprising finding was that good health is a far less powerful predictor than expected.
Provided that declining health is slow, rather than traumatic, our in-built genetic resilience compensates for that and our general mood level stays the same.
4. Golden oldies the happiest
This may go part way to explaining why Australians over the age of 55 were the most contented cohort, while the least contented were informal carers of sick or disabled family members.
Their general level of mood happiness came at the bottom of the index, along with prisoners and homeless children.
5. State of happiness: Tasmania
Where we live in Australia has little impact on our happiness, although there are slight variances across the country.
Tasmania came out as the happiest state in the nation, whereas Western Australia had the lowest wellbeing score, just above New South Wales.
Those of us who live in rural and regional areas tend to be the happiest Australians, suggesting that Tasmanians might be happiest because of the state’s low population.
Do you have any tips on how to be happy?
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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