This week I heard that Harrogate is officially the happiest place in the country.
This nugget of information came to me via Facebook, the Sunday Times and Rightmove, who also listed Stockport and Ipswich in the top five.
My home town of Gosport didn’t make the top 10. I tried to ascertain the validity (and age) of the survey, but after trawling the internet for results of happiness and location I came to the conclusion that just about every town in Britain claims to come out at the top of some happiness list or other – except, you guessed it, Gosport.
So then I looked at the measures of well-being that the Office for National Statistics uses for the happiness survey.
But its wheel of well-being had far too many components for my simple brain. Looking into individual relationships, health, what we do and many other factors seemed like too much hard work, making the understanding of happiness an esoteric topic.
But it bothered me, this unhappy itch about happiness. How can one place be judged to be happier than another, and what do I measure happiness by?
A quick mull over the weekend with colleagues on Monday morning – female and of similar age to me – and it became pretty clear that it is little moments which give us a sense of the happy.
Like finding a lovely leg of lamb on special offer at the supermarket. Or that a tin of the paint you need is reduced in the sale.
Or even simply getting the washing done and dried on the line in the same day without having to resort to indoor draping or the dreaded tumble dryer.
All of these may sound small and banal, but when they are mentioned a little piece of me resonates with ‘yes, that makes me happy too’.
But, essentially, I think happiness comes from being smiled at, smiling at others, upturning your lips and letting someone know that you’ve noticed them – and, just as importantly, being noticed by someone else.
So come on Gosport, smile and nod at one another so we can become the happiest place in the UK. Even if we don’t top the surveys, we’ll know in ourselves that we’re ticking the right boxes.