Or a roofer or a banker? If so you are probably at the opposite end of the occupational happiness scale.
But assuming you are in none of these occupations, where are you on the happiness scale?
The largest survey of opinions, behaviours and demographics in the world is the General Social Survey by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. Time Magazine recently used the survey to map the most to least happiness score for occupations, ages and family status. The results may surprise you.
Here is what they found – from the jobs that provide the most happiness to the least. And to provide geographical balance to their list, we have also summarised the UK’s biggest happiness at work survey conducted by City and Guilds, the skills development organisation.
The results are inevitably different – (a) because the US research concentrated on general categories (albeit it seems to have missed out some common jobs), and (b) the UK research was focused on the sorts of occupation that City and Guild training courses cover.
Click here for results
Despite some issues with the research, you can make conclusions:
- ‘Making a difference’ is not just a phrase. People whose job it is to help others really do seem to be happier.
- And ‘working in a pleasant environment’ and ‘doing something worthwhile and useful’ are common denominators.
- No-one in either the US or UK list mentioned money as their main motivator!
“The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it.” Johann Wolfang von Goethe
Beyond occupation, the US survey had some interesting things to say about age and marriage.
AGE/FAMILY STATUS Happiness Scale
What percentage of people describe themselves as “HAPPY”?
|OCCUPATIONAL STATUS||% SAY THEY’RE HAPPY|
|In full time work||33%|
|In part time work||31%|
|AGE||% SAY THEY’RE HAPPY|
|FAMILY STATUS||% SAY THEY’RE HAPPY|
|Married no children||41%|
|Married with children||36%|
|ATTEND SERVICES||% SAY THEY’RE HAPPY|
|Attend religious service weekly||41%|
|Attend religious service monthly||32%|
|Seldom or never attend||28%|
Conclusion? Becoming older is no barrier to being happy. Community involvement – such as in attending a religious service – is an important contributor to happiness.
How many are very happy?
|Not very happy||11%|
What’s the connection between health and happiness?
A review of more than 160 studies has found ‘clear and compelling evidence’ that — all else being equal — ” … happy people tend to live longer and experience better health than their unhappy peers”.
This was the conclusion of a meta-survey published in the Journal Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, which was the most comprehensive review so far of the evidence linking happiness to health outcomes. Its lead author was University of Illinois Professor Emeritus of Psychology Ed Diener, who also is a senior scientist for the Gallup Organization.
One of the studies included in the meta-survey followed nearly 5,000 university students for more than 40 years and found that those who were most pessimistic as students tended to die younger than their classmates.
Various other university studies published in the last 10 years show that:
- People who rate themselves as very happy have a lower risk of heart disease
- Happier people when exposed to rhinovirus (the cold virus) were less likely to develop a cold. Their immune systems were stronger.
- Women suffering from osteoarthritis reported lower levels of pain the happier they were
- People who exercise at least three times a week have lower depression levels than average
- People who smile more frequently generally have lower heart rates
Of course it’s (fairly) obvious that being healthy is a major factor in your happiness level. But less obvious is the impact of food and nutrition on mood.
The impact of food and nutrients on happiness
Surveys show that a comprehensive daily supplement like NutriShield can improve overall mood. Respondents reported that it reduced or in some cases even eliminated a previous depressed state.
This may well be because it contains almost all of the specific nutrients that science confirms are mood enhancers and which help reduce depression.
See more detail in this article: Nutrition Can Help Depression
Can you make yourself more happy?
Apart from nutrition, there is now clear research that indicates specific ways to improve your own happiness.
In a future post, I will summarise the top 10 actions taken from the latest neuroscience and from psychological research that will increase your own happiness level. So stay tuned!
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Dr Paul Clayton’s best-selling book Health Defence is available from most good bookstores. See the website www.healthdefence.com for excerpts and links to buy direct from the publisher.