The science of happiness 

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Health Assured team

02 August 2022

In light of Happiness Happens day, which takes place in August every year, we’re looking at the science of happiness to help you understand how you can squeeze some extra joy into your life. 

What can science tell us about the state of happiness? What can we do to boost our happiness levels? And what can we avoid to help us feel more of those positive emotions?

The science of positive psychology has come a long way in recent years, with many studies, tests and journals focusing on the conditions required for contentment to conquer. 

In the article below, you’ll find top tips from a range of research that will help you make the most of each day.



In a review of a range of studies on gratitude, the evidence swings towards this simple act as one of the most powerful tools we can call on. Various studies highlight appreciation as an antidote to fatigue, inflammation, burnout and depression. Instead, findings confirm gratitude boosts life satisfaction, happiness, resilience and health.

So what’s the most effective way to be grateful in your day-to-day life? A simple way is by noting down five things you are grateful for each day. It could be in a journal or on your phone. All that matters is that you take some time to count your blessings. 

Other studies have also shown that writing a gratitude letter to someone you've never properly thanked for their kindness can boost happiness levels for a whole month afterwards.


Be kind

As much as taking care of your own needs must be a priority, many studies show the link between giving to others and increased satisfaction. Being selfless and doing good deeds can bring more goodness to life than you might expect. As human beings and social creatures, we need close relationships and social connections. And showing kindness allows those relationships to thrive.

One of the most effective ways to practise this is with a random act of kindness. It could be surprising your friend with a small treat, calling someone for a chat out of the blue or complimenting a stranger. All it takes is a small gesture to bring great benefits to both parties.


Savouring the moment 

Savour the moment; we’ve all heard this phrase before. Yet it doesn't always come naturally in a fast-paced, connected world. But could slowing down and taking in this moment be the secret to a life filled with more joy?

Studies show that for some people, savouring can make a big difference. The research found that people who consciously engaged with their positive experiences by appreciating them while they are unfolding gained more joy from such experiences.

This could include engaging with sensory perceptions like sight, sound, scent, touch and taste, taking a photograph or reflecting on positive feelings.

It could be as simple as savouring the taste or warmth of your morning cup of tea or coffee. Appreciating small things has an instant mood-boosting effect.


Play to your strengths 

Another theory from the science of happiness by Martin Seligman finds that the secret to joy lies in playing to our strengths. His research showed that people were at their happiest when using their unique strengths and abilities. The theory split character strengths into 24 areas. Here are some examples:

Creativity: you like finding new ways of doing things.

Citizenship: you work well in a group or team, and you’re loyal to them.

Humour: you love laughing and making other people laugh.

Fairness: you treat others fairly and you aren’t biased.

Studies show that by using individual strengths regularly people gained a greater sense of achievement towards their goals, which in turn, provided a greater sense of wellbeing.

Try to think about different ways you can play to your strengths each day; it could be starting a new team sport, going to a comedy show or taking a new route on your morning walk.


Health Assured can help

If you’ve been low in mood or you’re having a hard time feeling happy at the moment, then remember we’re here to support you. Our helpline is available 24/7, 365, and our counselling team are here to help you through life’s challenges.


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