photoRecent research from Warwick University and the University of Minnesota has found that we are happiest when our income reaches £22,000. According to their research, anything over this and our happiness levels take a tumble as the more we have, the more we want.

We begin to measure our happiness in things rather than feelings. We compare ourselves with others – almost always those we perceive to have more than us – so we are constantly dissatisfied.

This is not a realistic way to live our lives – there will always be someone richer, more successful, slimmer and so on. True happiness comes not from having the latest car or the biggest house, but from a deep seated contentment with who you are.

Here are our top tips for finding that contentment and your own road to long lasting happiness:

  • When I was little… When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? What things always thrilled you and left you breathless with delight? How did you spend your time? When you were little, while you may have been counting your pennies to save up for the toy you really wanted, money and things were not your main focus. I’m willing you got as much pleasure from the cardboard box as from the toy every Christmas. Revisit those childhood memories and see if there’s anything you’d like to revisit – maybe take up gymnastics again, or a craft you used to love.
  • The best things in life are free. All over the country, there are hundreds of incredible museums and galleries, all of which offer free or very reasonable entry fees. There’s nothing quite like feeling you’ve discovered somewhere secret – be it a little out-of-the-way beach or a tiny gallery. Natural or man-made beauty is soothing to soak up.
  • Knowledge is power. While you may not have loved it in school, learning can be a route to happiness. Think about something that fascinates you and how much fun it would be to find out more about it. There are thousands of online courses you can take, start by checking out the Open University. Look to your local museums to see if they need volunteers. The sense that you are still growing as a person and the feeling of achievement when you get the certificate is more than money can buy.
  • Say yes. That friend who is always asking you to go to a salsa class with them? Say yes. That book you’ve always wanted to write but been too scared to start? Say yes. That last-minute jaunt to Paris? Say yes! Take a risk and have an adventure.