Improving attitude is the key to happiness
DISAGREEING with Plymouth's anxiety score or bemoaning the fact that it is so high (July 25) will not do any good, unless all of us who live here decide to do something about making our city a happier place to live.
Possibly the first thing to do is to understand what makes people happy and, more importantly, what doesn't. Decades of research have revealed that there is a formula for happiness. About 50 per cent is what you were born with or learned when you were very young, and there is not a lot you can do about it. Surprisingly, your current circumstances only account for about one tenth of your happiness level.
Provided you have the necessities of life without having to constantly struggle for them and live in a relatively free society, then getting more material wealth or even educational qualifications has very little lasting effect. Big lottery winners are happier to start with, but revert to their old level or even below within a year or two of winning. The same is true of major losses.
The other 40 per cent is down to attitude. Improve your attitude and you will be happier and that extra happiness will last. Impossible? Not according to the insights of positive psychology.
The same thought patterns that lead to helplessness and depression can be turned around to lower anxiety, improve resilience in the face of setbacks and, yes, make you happier.