Happiness Is … Losing The Phone

If you want to be happy, think positive and take a break from your mobile phone. That’s the advice from a new global movement for happiness whose members include the Dalai Lama.

Action for Happiness, co-founded by Richard Layard, an economics professor at the London School of Economics and an expert on happiness, said surveys of Britons and Americans show that they are no more content now than in the 1950s despite substantial economic progress.

“The main external factor affecting a person’s happiness is the quality of their relationships, at home, at work and in the community. And the main internal factor is their underlying mental health,” it added in a statement.

Its recommendations on how to stay in high spirits include advice to help others, exercise and pursue goals, and less obvious tips, such as meditating, taking a break from the mobile phone and the Internet and organizing a party with the neighbours.

Governments are becoming increasingly concerned with assessing national well-being using data outside traditional economic measures to help mould policy.

Britain will soon start asking new questions in its regular household survey to establish how satisfied people are with their lives.

France has asked Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, a former World Bank chief economist, and a group of international experts, to find new ways to measure economic progress taking into account social well-being.

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