The three components Martin (2005) reminds us that 'happiness' is not simply the absence of 'unhappiness'. You can be happy and unhappy at the same time, for example when you leave a job you like for a better one, or when your child moves from nursery to school, or from school to university. Martin's deconstruction of happiness into three components is a useful one: Pleasure: The presence of pleasant, positive moods or emotions such as pleasure, contentment, joy, elation, ecstasy of affection Absence of displeasure: the absence of unpleasant, negative moods or emotions such as sadness, anxiety, fear, anger, guilt, envy or shame Satisfaction: judging, on reflection, that you are satisfied with your life in general and with at least some specific aspects of your life (eg personal relationships, career or physical abilities). Happiness requires a blend of all three elements, and that combination can be attained in different ways. Each person has their own unique mix as a consequence of their own life experiences. Happiness- in flux Psychologists and more recently economists have developed a range of tools for measuring happiness and other aspects of well-being.  It is clear from this research field that happiness levels are constantly changing.   Lanyard (20031) identifies how people's happiness levels vary from one activity to another.  The image below summarises happiness levels reported in a study of 1000 working women in Texas: I wonder if triple maths on a Monday morning with evil Mr Woods brings more happiness into young lives, or helps grow their self-esteem? Happiness set-points Research evidence also suggests that we have a personal set-point about which our happiness levels range. This set-point is not absolutely fixed- it does show change over time, for example in the UK we get happier after age 40, but our set-point declines in our 70’s- generally for health related reasons (Baird et al, 2010). So… how can schools promote happiness in learners? How can they contribute to likelihood of learner’s establishing high set points for their happiness levels? How can they teach learners to tackle life in ways that are likely to maximise their happiness?
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