Monday, August 31, 2009

The Happiness Tsar

Gill Corkindale writes that 'the British Government has decided that happiness is of great importance to the nation and has appointed economist Richard Layard our first "Happiness Tsar." His mission is to build some positive thinking into the workforce from childhood, so children will develop into more resilient adults. In his book, Happiness: Lessons from a New Science, he writes: "There is a creative spark in each of us, and if it finds no outlet, we feel half dead. This can literally be true: among British civil servants, those who do the most routine work experience the most rapid clogging of arteries."'

Richard Layard always thought that the ultimate aim of public policy is to make people happier. In recent years he has been actively involved in the new science of happiness.

Mental illness is probably the single greatest threat to a happy life, and for this reason Richard Layard is currently leading a campaign to provide within the British National Health Service evidence-based psychological therapy for people with clinical depression and chronic anxiety disorder. The Depression Report, published in July 2006, is the manifesto for this campaign.

Finally, Richard Layard is also active in other happiness promoting policies, such as the emotional aspects of children's education, and initiatives by local authorities to monitor and improve the happiness of the population in their area.

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