Happiness in (Western) Australia!

Happiness in (Western) Australia!

by Lindsay McPhee – the West Australian

The Bankwest Happiness Survey has revealed what many of us already know – we're generally a pretty happy lot in WA.

Four out of five West Australians say they are satisfied with life, almost nine out of 10 say they are happy and three-quarters believe they are even happier than they were last year.

Most also think they are happier than everyone else.

According to Happiness Institute founder and respected academic Tim Sharp, that is a reason to be cheerful.

"Happiness is about much more than most people think," he said.

"Most people think it is just about feeling good, which is important in itself because we all want to be happier if we can, but, more importantly, happy people are actually better people.

"They are healthier so that impacts directly on health costs, and are more productive, which impacts organisations and businesses.

"They are also more altruistic and generous so they give more and do more good things, so the more happy people we have the better societies we have."

With a happiness index of 70 per cent and a wellbeing index of 71 per cent, WA is right in the "healthy" range for developed nations.

But Dr Sharp said the best news was that personal relationships were one of the most important things to West Australians.

Overwhelmingly, people in WA said their parents, partner, children and spending time with friends brought them the most joy.

"It's one of the most significant findings," Dr Sharp said. "It might be surprising to a lot of people who I think wrongly consider many of us in the Western world to be selfish.

"This shows we are not selfish, we are not hedonists. We still like to have fun and look after ourselves but one of the strongest findings was the importance of family and friends and community which is a lot of what happiness is about."