The characteristics of happiness Happiness researchers have put happiness under the magnifying glass. Correlational studies have identified a range of variables that are associated with happiness. (Be wary however of confusing correlation with causation) Good old Mr Google can give you numerous lists of the characteristics that are shown by happy people. So far so what? Happiness is a consequence of both what we are and what happens to us. There are some identifiable, core characteristics that happy people have in common, and knowing these provides us with an idea of what should be happening in schools to help create happy people. Martin (2005) provides a list of seventeen characteristics along with the claim that, "happy people usually have most or all of the following in common”: A brief summary of each of these characteristics can be read by downloading this PDF. PSHE and school policies- to help kids be happy Such individual characteristics then are the foundations of happy people, and play an important role in defining the personal set-points for happiness that people carry through their lives. Should we not ensure that schools attempt to develop these characteristics in learners- and teach learners the positive consequences, in terms of their likely future happiness, of developing such characteristics? Schools should have a policy that details how that, as well as leaving with an armful of qualifications, learners leave them with the knowledge of the roots of happiness, and the skills to lead as happy a life as possible. Imagine rich PSHE that led to people actually living happier lives. If schools were benchmarked and then audited for the happiness of their learners, then that really would be an important high-stakes test.
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