THE BLOG

Can British Folk Ever Really Be Happy?

01/05/2015 10:24 BST | Updated 30/06/2015 10:59 BST

Are we a happy nation?

Last year, when the Office for National Statistics revealed Brits were happier and less anxious than we had been in recent times, most people I knew were surprised.

I definitely heard some scoffing.

We certainly don't feel like a happy nation - we still moan about the same things - work, money and the weather. We may be less anxious but we are also a country that is deeply lonely.

Looking ahead to the General Election, happiness and wellbeing don't even really register as a priority for our politicians. No wonder most people regard it negatively - according to a recent study.

In fact, as always, MPs seem more intent on rubbishing each others' manifestos as a tactic to get our votes rather than focussing on what they CAN do for us.

Politicians just aren't going to win our votes with negativity. Not any more, at any rate.

While we may be a pessimistic lot, we have changed as a country in five years.

We are aware that we need to look after ourselves better - whether that is healthy eating or taking some time away from our phones to connect with the people we love.

We are aware that happiness comes from our connections with our friends and families rather than 5,000 Facebook friends.

More than ever, we seek connections and stories that show us the more dignified and admirable side to humanity - not just the part of us that causes untold destruction.

We have a What's Working initiative at HuffPost UK, which champions and charts individuals and organisations who strive to make the world a better place. A happier place. And these are the stories that inspire, that shine a pocket of light in an otherwise dark and turbulent world.

There is no mystery as to why these are some of our most popular stories - people are fed up with negativity. That doesn't mean to say they should clap Happy Happy Joy Joy and walk around with fixed grins on their faces - but we are moving towards a dialogue that places our happiness as a top priority, and politicians would do well to learn from the changing tide.

That's why at HuffPost UK Lifestyle, we've decided to dedicate May to the month of happiness.

During this time, we will examine the current definition of happiness in 2015.

We will look at the habits of the World's Happiest Countries to see what they are doing right, and what we can learn from them. And charity Action for Happiness will be blogging about their mission for happiness this year.

Happiness, I tend to find, is almost always about the small moments. So the HuffPost UK Lifestyle team will also be instagramming their little moments of happiness with #HPHappy and we'd love you to join us.

The ONS credited last year's findings to a better economy and higher employment rates. But we all know it takes more than that. Here's the perfect chance to have that discussion.