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Recently, I was asked by one of my (teenage) daughters “why are you always so happy?” This made me laugh but also makes me wonder, what is happiness and how does it work?

There are lots of definitions and explorations of this. One of the best is the 10 keys to happiness by Action for Happiness, a UK charity dedicated to building a happier and more caring community.

The first 5 are based on how we interact with the world. The second 5 come from inside and are based on our attitude to life…

  1. Giving – making time for and doing something for others makes us happy.
  2. Relating – connecting with people and having strong and broad social relationships. A close relationship with friends and family is important to happiness.
  3. Exercising – take care of your body by being active. Being active can give us an instant boost and help us feel happier for longer.
  4. Awareness – live life mindfully. Learning to be more mindful and aware can help with happiness.
  5. Trying out – keep learning new things. This helps us stay curious and engaged as well as gives a sense of accomplishment.
  6. Direction – have goals to look forward to. Feeling good about the future is important for our happiness. The goals need to be achievable but also motivating and challenging.
  7. Resilience – find ways to bounce back. Everyone has times where they feel down, stressed or a loss. How we respond to these can be key to our happiness.
  8. Emotions – look for what’s good. Always look on the bright side and try to encourage feelings of joy, gratitude, contentment, inspiration and pride. Good emotions breed good emotions.
  9. Acceptance – be comfortable with who you are. No-one’s perfect. Accept who you are and who other people are.
  10. Meaning – be part of something bigger. Try to have meaning and purpose in your life. Do more things that contribute to feelings of meaning and purpose.

What does any of this have to do with financial planning? This sits at the heart of what we do. We try to help our clients live their best life. This may be about helping to use your money to create time for giving, family relationships or ticking off a bucket list. For some it’s about encouraging trying things out and finding meaning in life after work.

Ultimately, happiness is what we are all striving for. The above list may help you to analyse where you are and how you can become happier. If you would like to explore how we can use your finances to fulfil these, please do get in contact.