Can Happiness Be Taught?

    Peter Baily

    You know when you start to focus on something, it keeps turning up everywhere. This has happened to me recently with happiness.

    I am seeing happiness in articles, videos, book titles, films. The subject often comes up in my coaching because it appears that most of us are never many questions away from wanting happiness.



    What do you want? More money. What do you want with more money? To be financially secure. What will you get from being financially secure? A happy family. What will you get? I’ll be happy.

    Interestingly, the subject of happiness is being studied from two ends of the spectrum; by scientific method and Buddhism (; likewise the world appears to be experimenting with GNP and GNH – Gross National Happiness (; it seems that we all understand the benefits of happiness and yet it remains elusive or simply not a priority.

    What is going on here? Or more interestingly, what is going on here for you? How do you measure your life – GPP (Gross Personal Product) or GPH (Gross Personal Happiness); how do you know when you are happy? Have you ever thought about where happiness shows up in your body? Or what made you happy as a child?

    If I was to tell you that happiness increases your productivity and creativity; enriches and empowers your relationships; that it reduces illness, depression and makes you live longer; that it determines the learning capacity of your children; that it reduces crime and violence, would you make happiness more of a priority or leave it to chance?

    Something practical

    Let’s do something. Let’s increase the happiness in our week by 10%; can there be anyone who wouldn’t want this? I wonder how many are resisting at this stage.

    The exercise is simple:

    1. Write a list of what makes you happy
    2. Put 5 things into your week that would otherwise not have happened – and at the end of each day, rate your day out of 10. 0: not happy at all 10: very happy.
    3. At the end of 7 days (perhaps Sunday) review the impact and daily rates.
    4. Start refining what makes the big differences and make these things a habit.

    Written by The Kairos Project Associate – Peter Baily

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