17/06/2013 09:54 BST | Updated 14/08/2013 06:12 BST

How to Be Happy

McDonald's named a meal after it, Americans are guaranteed the pursuit of it and all of humanity could do with some more of it - happiness. You could try religion, you could try yoga or you could try toffee covered crispy chocolate biscuit treats.

You could spend your life chasing bliss by joining a firm in the City and charge through your days in pursuit of money, barking at your compatriots and competitors like a dog chasing squirrels, or you could give it all up for a yurt on a hillside in a damp foreign land where no-one you know will ever find you (Wales).

The problems with those last two scenarios are that the former may cause you to keel over with a heart attack so big you could see it from space and the latter is just a recipe for growing armpit mould. What you need is a way to reach the land of permanent contentment without becoming a complete banker or sacrificing your grooming regimen.

Can I interest you in sado masochism? It won't hurt at all, unless you really want it to. According to the results of rigorous and scientific research, the proponents of bondage and discipline are actually more stable and content than their less - what's the word? - unperverted neighbours. The "this will hurt you more than it hurts me, unless we switch roles" brigade are less troubled than the general population. They are also more open-minded, outgoing and adventurous, but that is not such a surprise - that they are more conscientious and balanced, is.

Willing participants in the bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism scene also report greater levels of happiness than those that are not. Unwilling participants don't report that, but that is another story. Both dominant and submissive partners reportedly scored higher marks for mental health than the general population, with dominants the most content of all.

So, is all that you need for blessed beatitude a thigh-high pair of leather boots and a good strong whip in your hand? No, of course not. For that you will also need to live in Sheffield. A third of respondents in the city that makes forks declared that they start the day grinning. I am not making that up. Even Batman's arch nemesis The Joker doesn't wake up with a smile on his face but that is because he isn't getting enough sex. The number one reason offered, when prodded, for the apparent near continued state of bliss experienced by the average denizen of the steel city is that they are getting a most satisfying amount of hot Yorkshire interface action. With other people.

I have undertaken extensive research into this matter, which involved staring at its Wikipedia entry for literally minutes, and I can tell you that I know conclusively why the people of Sheffield are getting so much sex - there's nothing else for them to do.

Edinburgh was named the second happiest place in the land, but there are no end of things to do in Edinburgh, which makes up for it being too cold for its citizens to take off their clothes, ever.

A further study has suggested that being married is the key to contentment. Not earning a six figure salary, not owning a home, nor having a job, but being wed is the answer. It is not even the case that having children makes you happier. They make you poorer by draining your wealth, they do not turn you into a fountain of vivacity. It is just the being married part that works on your mood.

The lesson, then, as far as I can determine, is that in order to achieve euphoric exuberance and great good spirits, you need a pair of handcuffs and a revolving rack, a home in the Don valley and a spouse on your arm who will offer you harm.

You could also go into the psychological research business and cobble together some nonsense like those studies I have quoted above. I bet those people wake up laughing.