What makes you happy? This is a big question in the UK, as statistics reveal that the NHS issued 39.1m prescriptions for anti-depressants in 2009. This meant that doctors handed out 95% more drugs to tackle depression than a decade ago in 1999. While there are obviously many factors behind these worrying figures, there have also been some encouraging articles in the British media this week. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released their latest results, which contained one finding that could lift British spirits. In the survey, the UK came 5th highest (from a total of 34 countries) in terms of ‘kindness’. Apparently, 57% of Britons will help you, for example if you are a tourist needing directions. I spoke about this in class today and lots of students had stories about how polite and helpful people are in London. The Brits also gave £73.4m to charity recently in one evening, which confirms the kindness of the nation. The OECD figures brought up some stereotype busting results: The Germans have the 3rd lowest working time per day (7hrs 25 mins), while the Mexicans had the longest working day (10 hours). Check out the results for your own country. This ‘kindness’ ratio ties in very neatly to another big story in the UK this week. There has been huge publicity for the ‘Action for Happiness’ campaign, which is a movement for positive social change to try and make a happy society. This is a program designed to create feelings of true, lasting happiness in your life. The 10 key steps have a great acronym: GREAT DREAM. Giving – Do things for others – Q: What do you do to help others? Relating – Connect with people – Q: Who matters most to you? Exercising – Take care of your body – Q: How do you stay active and healthy? Appreciating – Notice the world around you – Q: When do you stop and take notice? Trying out – Keep learning new things – Q: What new things have you tried recently? Direction – Have goals to look forward to – Q: What are your most important goals? Resilience – Find ways to bounce back – Q: How do you respond in tough times? Emotion – Take a positive approach – Q: What are you feeling good about? Acceptance – Be comfortable with who you are – Q: What is the real ‘you’ like? Meaning – Be part of something bigger – Q: What gives your life meaning? You are already ‘Trying out’ because you are learning English and have ‘Direction’ because you probably have a goal to be a certain level or pass an exam. If you leave a comment to this post you will be ‘Relating’ And if you have read this far, you should feel very good about yourself and your English level, so that’s ‘Emotion’ covered. You also have ‘Meaning’ because you are part of the larger SGI community! That’s 5/10 things free of charge that are bound to make you happy!!!