What happiness meant 80 years ago

This is how happiness looked 80 years ago.

In 1939, the local British newspaper Bolton Evening News ran an advertisement asking readers to define happiness. The ad was placed by a social research organisation called Mass Observation. In February 2014, the same experiment was repeated by psychologists at the University of Bolton and published in The Bolton News.

When the experiment was first conducted, the top three definitions of happiness included security, knowledge and religion. The latest results show that people are defining happiness a little differently nowadays.

In both surveys, participants were asked to rank 10 potential markers of happiness from most important to least important. While security has remained in the top three almost eighty years later, the first and second places were taken by good humour and leisure time. Religion has all but fallen off the radar.

While luck was considered as being vital to happiness by about 20 per cent of respondents back in 1939, the contemporary results suggest that 41 per cent of participants think of luck as going hand-in-hand with happiness.

Both generations agreed on one thing: money does not necessarily buy happiness and real happiness can be found in the little things in life, such as spending time with family and taking the dog for a walk.

Why not have a read of some direct responses from those surveyed from both generations?

Then: “Enough money to meet everyday needs and a little for pleasure.”

Now: “Knowing that my rent is paid on time and I can afford to eat healthily.”

Then: “I would like a little home, not many possessions…congenial and satisfying companionship, the availability of good music and books.”

Now: “Engaging in my hobbies, spending time that is free of worry….Simple things like enjoying a nice meal or receiving care and affection.”

Then: “When I come home from the pit and see my kiddies and wife, I am happy.”

Now: “Simple things like going out for a walk…you don’t need tons of material things to be happy, you just have to be happy in the place you live and with the people around you.”

Read more at Huffington Post.





    COMMENTS

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    Adrianus
    15th May 2015
    1:01pm
    It appears to me that so many people find it difficult to define "happiness."
    If this is the case then for many of us achieving happiness would be almost impossible. One would only ever mistakenly come by happiness. I have met so many people who want to achieve happiness but don't know what it is. Does this strike anyone as odd? How could something so important be indescribable?
    Take the 6 responses above? The first 4 are money related problems (nothing to do with happiness). The next is relative to "family & Love." The last response is understandable but for many of us ambition and aspiration are human traits unable to be set aside.
    heyyybob
    15th May 2015
    1:47pm
    A few years ago (during my second or third 'mid life crisis' period !!) I was looking at my Happiness and my definition of it and I COULDN'T really define it until I substituted Contentment for Happiness. That, for me, works and sorts that out nicely and I have regularly visited that place for years. Very reassuring :D
    Adrianus
    15th May 2015
    2:22pm
    Yes heyybob, good point. I agree that there is a place for contentment but it is a benefit of achievement of ones aspirations.
    My mum used to say, "be happy with what you've got." I started to question that as I grew older. I'm pleased to say that I'm happy with what I've achieved not what I've got. When my kids were growing I celebrated their success not the rubbish and clutter in their rooms. There can be no happiness without success. There can be no contentment without achievement.
    heyyybob
    15th May 2015
    2:47pm
    Yup, agree Frank. I am content with what I have achieved and appreciate that in my lifetime (especially my late 20s and 30s) I was most fortunate with some opportunities in my field of 'expertise' that came my way. They no longer exist (its a shrinking world) and I'm pleased that I took the plunge and threw myself into it as I and my family benefited from my decisions. *time for a cuppa and if I'm honest, a bit of a smug reminiscing ;) Cheers :)
    Adrianus
    15th May 2015
    6:22pm
    heyyybob, talking about old memories. I remember in my younger days I met a beautiful French woman. I asked her what she wanted out of life and she simply replied "I'm looking for Happiness." We spent the next 10 years looking together.
    heyyybob
    15th May 2015
    6:26pm
    :) And a good decade was had by all, I guess Frank. Gudonyer :)
    Adrianus
    18th May 2015
    3:28pm
    Well I did ask her to repeat it to make sure I heard correctly.
    Nan Norma
    15th May 2015
    4:15pm
    Happiness to me would be having good health, good friends, the love of ones children and enough money to pay the bills.
    bebby
    15th May 2015
    4:22pm
    Nan Norma, I agree with what you have stated. I would like to add World Peace and no person living in poverty.
    Nan Norma
    15th May 2015
    4:28pm
    Yes, world peace and no person living in poverty, but I'm being realistic. As long as we have men with big egos we'll always have wars, it's the nature of men.
    heyyybob
    15th May 2015
    4:55pm
    Nan Norma. Maybe more women should emulate Lysistrata's effort in approximately 400 BC :) If enough did and often enough things may be different and mens nature may be changed for good ;) Then maybe we would ALL be happy then :D
    Paulodapotter
    15th May 2015
    5:04pm
    Not all men, Nan. Unfortunately, older men who have learnt how to manipulate youth to do their bidding, apply their knowledge to place the naive and inexperienced into dangerous situations under the guise of patriotism and nationalism. Our youth is all too ready to try themselves out in combat. All they need is a good reason, truthful or not. They haven't the experience to learn they are being manipulated by those who know by experience that the human being, a naturally herding animal will band together once an enemy can be identified. Now that young ladies are able to fight on the front line, they too will become our next generation of cannon fodder. Is warmongering just a male thing. Margie Thatcher would disagree. As her political stocks were dwindling, along came the Faulklands to rescue her from political oblivion. Did she see the value of declaring war on Argentina as a means of bolstering her political stocks. You can bet on it!
    World Prophet
    16th May 2015
    9:36am
    My sister in law reckons that happiness is world peace and thin thighs. Simple really, isn't it.
    Not Senile Yet!
    15th May 2015
    4:57pm
    For Nana Norma, whilst the sentiments expressed are worthy....I disagree with the Female chauvinistic statement about men!!!
    Those men who behave badly...ALL have Mothers who reared them!!!
    Most men who cheat....need a women to do it with!!!!
    As for Egos....most men are greedy only to supply the ego of their wives/daughters and family.....whilst others simply do not know any better.
    Forgive me....but as a Baby Boomer....it was never my Father who ruled the House......it was my Mother!
    As for any disputes...all men know who really wears the Pants in EVERY household...and it is not the men!!!!
    So much for Men Ruling the World!!!!
    I for one.... do not appreciate....the Blame the Men Game!!!
    Not Senile Yet!
    15th May 2015
    5:04pm
    Having said the above....please understand clearly that I am a Father of two girls.....now married with children....and I was appalled at the way young men treated them in the courtship rituals!!!
    But hey!!! Guess what I told them was the answer to sorting out their intentions???
    Just go and have dinner with your Future Mother & Father in Law very early in the relationship.....because it will become obvious how the son treats his mother and Visa Versa.....and the same with the Father in Law!!!
    Many a boyfriend was ditched after that family meal!!!
    So tired of Women Blaming Men for everything and anything!!!
    Take the Blinkers off.....most inequality within the sexes is taught!!
    Paulodapotter
    15th May 2015
    5:11pm
    You are absolutely on the button there Not Senile. See my reply to Nan above. I was brought up in a family that constantly vilified "MEN!" while women were referred to as liars. How Australians ever got together in my era mystifies me. They seemed to hate each other with a vengeance. In the 70's while travelling around Europe, I was astounded by the respect men and women showed each other.
    Paulodapotter
    15th May 2015
    5:23pm
    I too am the father of two girls. I always said to them to take charge of their relationships, not to simply go along with status quo. They are both extremely talented and attractive ladies even if I may say so myself, yet they have discarded their long term partners on more than one occasion on the basis that their partners did not show them the respect they freely gave. I despair I will ever be a grandfather if some truly decent men don't step up and behave as real "men". Men who show strength, humility and character. Come on, I know you're out there somewhere.
    Adrianus
    16th May 2015
    11:49am
    Paulo, it sounds like they are taking charge :) that must make you happy? I just have one of each and they are now in complete control of their own actions. I would like to think they have continued with the responsible assertiveness practiced at home. They certainly don't hold back on dad. :)
    Nan Norma
    15th May 2015
    5:29pm
    I probably should have used the word Mankind. You've all taken it to a personal level. Throughout history men have fought over women, and landrights. Wars have been started because some king was slighted and sought revenge.
    Just a month ago two men argued and fought over a parking space. In the end one man was dead. There were plenty of parking spaces, but the older man's pride was at stake, a younger man had slighted him by robbing him of a car space.
    heyyybob
    15th May 2015
    5:38pm
    Whoaaa there everybody :) Lighten up. I think that we are ALL 'victims of our upbringing' and who does that ?? Hmmmm, go figure. Unlike you and I not everybody is perfect - thank goodness :D
    CindyLou
    15th May 2015
    6:08pm
    I heard a definition of happiness that I thought was thought provoking...

    'Happiness is when what you think, say and do are in harmony'.
    heyyybob
    15th May 2015
    6:22pm
    Sorry Cindy .... as any woman will tell us ....'blokes can't multi-task'...no wonder we're never happy. *sigh
    Paulodapotter
    16th May 2015
    12:57am
    All the world is queer except me and thee and even thee is a little odd :) Bob
    heyyybob
    16th May 2015
    9:02am
    :)
    Ny19
    16th May 2015
    9:28am
    Cindy, what if what one thinks, says and does is in harmony but destructive? Is that happiness?
    Paulodapotter
    16th May 2015
    11:11am
    How does it feel, to be on your own? (Good ol' Bob Dylan)
    CindyLou
    17th May 2015
    12:07am
    Robiconda, I gave some thought to your question...my take on this is that someone could think, say and do 'in harmony' and also be destructive but also happy with their lot on life and themselves. Not saying this is nice or right but I suppose it is what it is.

    Narcissistic, Anti Social personality disorder, or just plain bad people could be bad but in themselves happy.
    CindyLou
    17th May 2015
    12:19am
    heyyybob, also gave some thought to your post on blokes multi tasking.
    I've got to state that research etc states multi tasking is a myth and when a person attempts to do multiple tasks at once they are actually switching back and forth between tasks which in itself is inefficient.
    Adrianus
    18th May 2015
    3:26pm
    CindyLou, yes I know what you mean and isn't it great that we don't need to give hand signals when trying to ride a pushbike now.
    CindyLou
    17th May 2015
    12:00am
    Ok, another quote...

    'if you are depressed, you are living in the past, if you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the moment'.

    Something to ponder...
    Paulodapotter
    17th May 2015
    3:58pm
    Unless you are clinically depressed. Generalisations are fun, but they're rarely useful.
    HOLA
    18th May 2015
    10:10am
    I never knew what extreme happiness was until the birth of my first son. I couldn't believe we had created such a perfect little baby. The same feeling came over me again with the birth of my second son. My husband was self employed and we had difficult days making sure our bills were paid on time. Although we would have loved to afford all the nice things in life we settled for second best until we could afford "things". Looking back over the years, now that my husband has passed on, I am so proud of my 2 boys and the successes they have achieved through hard work. Sure, we can't survive without Money but too many people are happy they have a large bank account and don't know how to enjoy it.
    I asked a young girl one day, what would make her happy, and she said "Meeting a rich man and then she could have lots of money". Poor misguided youth.
    Nan Norma
    18th May 2015
    10:45am
    HOLA. So very true. Actually it takes being unhappy to appriciate what happiness is. I think we have fleeting moments of happiness most days.
    Adrianus
    18th May 2015
    2:09pm
    I think in trying to understand what happiness is we need to differentiate between "Short Term Happiness" and "Long Term Happiness." My personal feeling is that happiness is a state of mind a type of euphoria, a sensory satisfaction. If this is true then we can all be affected by a very wide range of experiences or emotions which will give us varying levels of "Short Term Happiness." These experiences can be different for different people. And can range from say buying a new dress, or having an ice cold beer at the end of a hard days fishing, or getting a loving smile from your child. However, when it comes to "Long Term Happiness" human beings are not that complex. We all have pretty much the same needs. Surprisingly those needs are very few too. You can group them into just a few categories.
    heyyybob
    18th May 2015
    2:48pm
    Ommmmmmmmm. I am Content. Ommmmmmmm :D ........ and yes, an 'ice cold beer at the end of a hard days ...... IS a Good Measure of Happiness ;)
    Adrianus
    18th May 2015
    3:38pm
    By any measure, the Zulus are the happiest people in the world yet they have very little in the way of material possessions. If you were to ask a Zulu the same question it wouldn't be a ice cold beer at the end of a hard day running from hyenas. Perhaps it is knowing that their spear will kill a hungry lion on the charge. That's the point I was trying to make.
    heyyybob
    18th May 2015
    4:56pm
    Once upon a time, last millennium, I worked in two countries. In one the people at that time were the wealthiest people IN THE WORLD, pro rata. In the other country the people were amongst the poorest (in wealth) in the Pacific. I reckon you could guess who were the happiest Frank ;) Those two have been my yardstick for measuring happiness for decades.
    MILA
    19th May 2015
    12:53pm
    Hi everybody...well, seems we are all becoming a bit/a lot philosophical: Excellent
    Happiness means many different things: all depends on where we are and our circumstances. The more material things people keep on buying and buying.....cergtainly, will not lead to any lasting happyness. Many look for drugs, sex, whatever....again: tempoerary gratification: and also can be destructive . Happiness is also appreciation and gratitude. Humans are very silly beings: usually when they loos something/someone....e.g. healthy, home, relatives., friends: they realized how good it was before. As some of you have mentioned ...Happiness is not a permanent status.....: however, a happy attitude will always work miracles. Happiness is not only what WE GET but, WHAT WE CAN SHARE AND GIVE TO OTHERS. If a person has not have peace of mind, gratitude, enlightment ....well, will never be actually Happy: charity always begings at home. Sante!


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