Wellbeing More Important Than Wealth Creation

Wellbeing More Important Than Wealth Creation Wellbeing More Important Than Wealth Creation

Finding love and enjoying good mental health are by far the most important keys to a happy life, a study by the London School of Economics (LSE) has found.

Both factors were found to be more significant contributors to an individual’s overall contentment than economic factors, including doubling one’s salary, according to an analysis by the LSE.

The study was based on several international surveys which asked 200,000 people around the globe to determine how different factors had an impact on their wellbeing, The Telegraph reported on its website.

Investigations found that doubling a person’s income raised their happiness by under 0.2 points, on a scale of 0-10.

Prof. Richard Layard, co-author of the report, said: “Evidence shows that the things that matter most for our happiness and for our misery are our social relationships and our mental and physical health.”

This demands a new role for governments - not ‘wealth creation’ but ‘wellbeing creation’.

In the past, the state has successively taken on poverty, unemployment, education and physical health.

“But equally important now are domestic violence, alcoholism, depression and anxiety conditions, alienated youth, exam-mania and much else. These should become centre stage.”

The study suggested individuals care largely about their income relative to other people, so general increases in income have very small impacts on the overall happiness of the people.

Conversely, unemployment reduces the happiness of each unemployed person by about 0.7 points on average, further creating “fear and unease among those in work” and affecting the whole community.

Mental health is the biggest single predictor of individual happiness.

  Depression, Anxiety Disorders

The study found suffering from depression or anxiety disorders is more common than unemployment and it also reduces happiness by 0.7 points.

Having a partner also raises happiness by 0.6 points, and losing a partner by separation or death reduces happiness by a roughly equal amount, researchers found.

“People need to be needed, and to be in meaningful relationships,” the authors said.

 Happiness is hugely affected by the ethos of a society, which affects everyone in it. For example, happiness is higher in societies where people trust each other. If those who trust others rises from 0% to 100%, happiness rises by 1 whole point.

The findings were discussed at a conference on wellbeing at the LSE co-organized with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and other leading UK institutions.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints