This is an interesting question that philosophers, psychologists, and psychiatrists have struggled with for years. But it seems that the epidemiologists have finally answered it.
The data revealed from a series of surveys on happiness reveals that there is a “golden triangle” of happiness – Love, Money and Activity.
Love – having a functional intimate relationship is associated with being happy. This mimics the findings of the classic Alameda county study which found that those in stable marriages actually live longer.
Money – you don’t need to be wealthy, a combined income of more than $100,000 PA seems to be the tipping point at which happiness kicks in. More than that doesn’t seem to add much happiness, and in some cases the sacrifices needed to earn that much can see people being less happy.
Activity – having a sense of purpose and something to fill your time with seems to be the final piece of the puzzle. This is also where health comes into it. Chronic illness or anything else that robs a person of activity will reduce their levels of happiness.
So there we have it, work hard, play hard, and be good to those you love