International Day of Happiness 2017: Six things you probably never knew about being happy

Lynsey Barber
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Angry Birds Movie Red In Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Happy, or not, here's the science (Source: Getty)

It's time to wish everyone a, er, happy International Day of Happiness.

Yep, there really is a day for everything, and 20 March just happens to be when the United Nations asks everyone to consider the wellbeing and happiness of the world - and it even has possibly the least happy person on board. The big angry bird himself, known as Red, from the addictive mobile game Angry Birds is an ambassador for the day.

So, for anyone looking to be a little less angry bird and a little more Cheshire cat, here are six things you probably didn't know about happiness to get that serotonin flowing - from the habits of highly happy Londoners to the real answer to whether money can ever buy you happiness.

1. You can get a happiness forecast like the weather

You know the weather in your area, the levels of pollution or pollen in the air maybe - but how about the general level of wellbeing around you at work or at home? If you live in London, there's one ingenious map that can tell you how your local borough is feeing at this very moment in time. The Happy Forecast takes into account the sentiment of geotagged tweets. One to add to the morning reading list along with the weather report, perhaps? Read more.

2. There's an optimal happy Londoner

A happy Londoner? We may get told that the capital's residents are a grumpy lot, but there are certain habits that highly effective, ok, happy, Londoners have - or so we say. Research on nearly 12,000 of us identified that our ideal happiness came from a surprisingly early start but long-old sleep, a short commute and high salary (no surprises there). Read more.

3. It's probably time to leave London

You might not be able to get a happiness forecast elsewhere, but for every research report that comes out identifying the best places to live or work for a satisfied life, London rarely tops the list.

So, where should you head? There's Dublin, most recently, found to be the happiest city in the world when it comes to work, but it's Norwich which was found to be the happiest place to work in the UK in a separate study.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh was named the place with the best quality life in one index, but according to official statistics, it's Scotland's Western Isles where you'll find the happiest people in the UK.

It just goes to show, there are a lot of ways to measure happiness.

4. Money can buy happiness

There's more to it than that. Scientists say they've found that material possessions - buying a new coffee machine perhaps - can bring happiness to people, but it's a different kind of happiness than we feel from an experience, such as going on holiday. One is a repeated happiness over time, while the other is a more intense burst over a short period. Read more.

5. You become happier the older you get

Even though life may throw lemons at you, we really do make lemonade. Scientists found in a 25-year-long study that our levels of happiness keep on rising even taking into account major life events which might not always bring us such joy. So, if you find yourself lacking a certain level of happiness, don't worry, you're likely to be on an upward trajectory. Read more.

6. It may just be all in the genes

Lastly, it could all be dow to genes. Scientists say they have identified a variant which can go some way to explaining why some people are happier and that it more commonly appears in some areas than others. This means it may not be all about money and personal wealth when it comes to happiness, but something you have no control over. Read more.

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