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International Day of Happiness – it’s all about connecting with people

19 Mar 2014

With the United Nations celebrating the International Day of Happiness today, Australia’s own national measure of happiness has revealed that the vast majority (85.4 per cent) of more than 1700 people polled said they gained the greatest sense of personal achievement from their family, their partner or from connecting with others through volunteer work. And they have considerably higher levels of personal wellbeing than those who derive their personal achievement mostly through work or their hobby.

“As people stop to think about their happiness today, they may want to reflect on what it is that gives them the greatest sense of meaning in their lives, and perhaps consider dedicating more time to it,’’  says Melissa Weinberg, senior researcher at Deakin University’s Australian Centre on Quality of Life.

“Personal connections are so important, yet they are still underappreciated,’’ Dr Weinberg says.

The study, now in its 14th year, has consistently shown the personal wellbeing of Australians is remarkably robust, with little variation found regardless of the economic or political climate of the day.

“As a nation we’re generally pretty happy, but there is no doubt many people struggle with their personal wellbeing, and today may be a time for checking in on others and thinking about the little things you could do to give them a boost,’’ Dr Weinberg says.

The survey consistently finds that money does make a difference to an individual’s sense of wellbeing, but more directly at lower incomes. As income levels rise, the additional amount of money required to permanently bolster wellbeing increases significantly. For someone earning $100,000-$150,000 a year in excess of $100,000 more would be required to generate one extra point of personal wellbeing on the scale used in the report.

“There’s no denying money is related to wellbeing, but perhaps not in the way people think,’’ Dr Weinberg says. “It is not a direct relationship, and applies more at the lower end of the income scale.”

The report can be viewed at

For further information please contact:

Dr Melissa Weinberg:  (03) 9244 6732, 0402 039 491 or

Stephen Lunn, Australian Unity Senior Manager Public Policy:  (03) 86826705 or

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