I love Happy City and their mission to create a happy, flourishing Bristol and provide Happiness measures that can help cities worldwide understand and encourage more happiness. What is really great about their approach is they are starting with people – yes actual people, not looking at national statistics and surveys but asking us how happy are we feeling and how would we score ourselves across the different categories that contribute to happiness.
To get a snapshot of your happiness take the Happiness Pulse. It’s quick and easy and gives you some useful tips where there might be room from improvement. Happy City need at least 100 people from every ward in the city to take their pulse in the next three weeks – so take your pulse – take someone else’s, compare notes, give yourself a little happiness check-up and consider what elements of your life could do with a boost.
Help them hit their target and you’ll be putting Bristol on the map as the first city in the world to measure the urban value of wellbeing and link it to ways of improving people’s lives.
I’ll admit that for a lot of people in Bristol in particular this may not seem like the best time to take our happiness pulse but think on this – how do you want people to measure the success of your city? Should it be GDP that hides gross inequality and widening income gap? Should it be centred on crime statistics, jobs, health? Or are we interested at something which combines those measures and some of the more qualitative, softer measures – the ones that refer to our appreciation of those abstract nouns like Beauty and Knowledge, and explore how connected we are to our communities? I think understanding, measuring and valuing Happiness is just what we need right now.
I have been called ‘relentlessly cheery’ in the past. At one point this was upgraded to ‘aggressively happy’ – strangely I don’t think it was meant as a compliment. So I do realise that my approach to Happiness (aggressive pursuit in the face of all obstacles) can be somewhat annoying to people. My overall Happiness was 86 – which I’m pretty proud of. It’s an improvement on my rating a few months ago and comes from increasing my noticing of things to be grateful for, and of small acts of kindness, getting over some grudges. Today I am grateful for Happy City and their pursuit of new forms of measurement and a return to that basic of human instincts, and my small act of kindness is to encourage you all to think about your happiness too.