I'm coming to the end of Phil Hammond's funny, outrageous, informative and wise book "Medicine Balls". Here's a bit (from p. 248) I'd like to throw into our communal soup:
There's no doubt that we're richer and living longer than we were in 1948, and the NHS can take some credit for that. But we don't seem to be any happier. Indeed, Labour has somehow contrived a health service where we have the best-paid doctors in the world and among the least satisfied. The research on happiness is pretty clear. Humans are social animals and are most content in communities where people unite around, and conform to, a shared ideal. We like to trust each other, we don't like change - particularly if it's constant and we don't understand it - but we're very resilient and adaptable if needs be. We're happier being involved and figuring out what to do ourselves rather than being dumped on from on high. More money, above a comfortable level, doesn't make us happier and neither does the aggressive, competitive attitude needed to earn it. Compassionate, positive people tend to be happiest of all, and also healthiest. If you can sort your brain out, your body tends to follow.