By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
Now the world's first membership organization dedicated to spreading happiness has been officially launched. It is called “Action for Happiness” and claims to have 4,500 members in more than 60 countries.
It says it prioritizes healthy relationships and meaningful activities as a means to happier living. It has ambitions to become what it calls “a global mass movement for fundamental cultural change”. The launch event was held in London and included tips on how to be happier.
According to a spokesman, “Despite massive material progress, people in Britain and the US are no happier than they were 50 years ago, while there are many societies in which people are much happier than in Britain. Rejecting a societal focus on materialism and self-obsessed individualism, the movement instead prioritizes healthy relationships with others and meaningful activities as a means to happier living.” Once a person signs up, he or she pledges to produce more happiness and less misery.The launch was addressed by the happiness guru Lord Richard Layard, of the London School of Economics, Anthony Seldon, master of Wellington College, and Geoff Mulgan, director of the Young Foundation.
There is a website for the organization wherein it gives advice for happier living, such as do things for others; keep learning new things; be comfortable with who you are; and connect with people. The movement originated last year by Richard Layard, a Labour peer and professor of economics at the LSE, Geoff Mulgan, chief executive of The Young Foundation and Anthony Seldon, master of Wellington College. It has no commercial, political or religious affiliations.
This movement comes in the wake of a government survey measuring happiness in some UK households where people are asked how satisfied they are with their lives. The Office for National Statistics has added the questions to the existing nationwide Integrated Household Survey, which is currently taking place. After becoming Conservative leader in 2005, David Cameron said gauging people's feelings was one of the “central political issues of our time”.
According to a study people in Britain have a less positive outlook than those in the United States. It showed that less than half of British adults feel they are thriving, while American citizens experience more happiness and enjoyment, scientists say.
This comes from a survey of 3,000 adults over the past three months, were presented yesterday at a meeting to discuss how data on well-being could be used to change policy and create a happier and more productive society.