How to become happier?

| Michaela Nesvarova

Today´s program of CuriousU summer school carried the theme "happiness". And so how better to start the day than with an inspirational speech by Nic Marks, a world-renowned researcher of happiness and wellbeing? ´Quality of life shouldn´t be measured in GDP per capita, but in Happy Life Years,´ he says.

Photo by: Gijs van Ouwerkerk

Nic Marks is the creator of Happy Planet Index (HPI), index designed to measure sustainable well-being. In the organizers´ own words, the HPI measures what really matters - the extent to which countries provide happy lives for their inhabitants. The index is calculated using data on life expectancy, experienced well-being and ecological footprint.

Who is the happiest?

´The way to measure progress is by Happy Life Years, asking people if they are living happy and full lives, ´ thinks Marks. ´At the moment, Costa Rica is on the top of the Happy Life Index and there are things we could learn from the country. People in Latin America are great in relationships and they are more connected to nature.´

Apocalyptic future

Why focus so much on the feeling of happiness? Because it is crucial for the future of the whole world. As Marks puts it: ´We are collectively pessimistic about the future of mankind. When the future is visualized in films, for example, it is always apocalyptic. We have challenges to overcome, but there are choices to be made about the future of humanity. We need to imagine how good it can be in order to approach it.´

New economics

To achieve the brighter tomorrow, global changes should be made. One of those would be a transformation of the world´s economies. Marks is also a founder of NEF (New Economics Foundation), a think-tank focused on economics that is good for people and for the planet. ´In orthodox economy, people and planet are viewed as servants to the economy. But the economy should serve people,´ says Marks.

Guide to happiness

According to Nic Marks, there is a (universal) way to a greater personal happiness. If you´d like to become happier yourself, you should do the following five things every day:

´Connect. Focus on relationships with others. Happiness is social.

Be active.Do any physical activity. You will not become happy by sitting on the couch and eating chocolate.

Take notice.Be aware of what is around and inside you.

Keep learning.


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