[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 15:47 GMT
Episode guide
Mark Easton goes on a journey to understand what lasting happiness is. The six-part series looks at the newest research, examine the latest policy proposals, and meet the most cutting-edge thinkers from around the world.

Are we about to see an army of happy police enforcing happiness?
What is happiness?
Episode 1: What is happiness?

Scientists say they can measure happiness, and they claim it can make us more resilient and creative, harder working, healthier and even live longer.

So shouldn't the government intervene and make us do what's good for us or at least encourage us?

We journey to the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, which is the only country in the world that puts happiness at the heart of government.

Can we rewire our brains?
Rewiring our brains

Episode 2: Rewiring our brains

A new form of psychology - positive psychology - suggests we can think ourselves happy and actually rewire our brains to be more optimistic.

We are told we all have a set range of happiness. Now positive psychologists say we can make ourselves 10-15% happier permanently - if we work at it.

And they are keen to try it out on a whole nation.

The price of happiness

Episode 3: The price of happiness

As a society we are richer than we have ever been but according to scientists we are not any happier.

Psychologists say we are driven by our in-built need to compare ourselves with others, and we quickly adapt to money and possessions.

We explore what could be done to improve our consumer society - should we ban advertising for children, tax the rich, commute less or work less?

Happy mind healthy body

Episode 4: Happy mind healthy body

Scientists say happiness makes us healthier.

Happiness seems to have a protective effect, giving us some protection against heart disease and cancer.

The science of happiness has persuaded influential figures in government to consider ideas which could lead to a complete rethink in the NHS.

Man laughing
Trust in happiness

Episode 5: Trust in happiness

Trust, community and friendships are crucial to our happiness and health. But trust has declined dramatically since the 1950s.

Research suggests that a decline in agreed rules of behaviour, commuting, and even the TV are partly to blame.

The science of happiness poses questions about multiculturalism and whether we should do much more build bridges between different communities.

An avatar in Second Life
Future happiness

Episode 6: Future happiness

Technology promises happiness at the flick of a switch.

But labour saving devices and technological advances have not produced lasting happiness, and we have all ended up working more to pay for the latest gadgets.

We are told we should teach children to be happy. They have started teaching happiness in the USA and now happiness is entering the classroom in the UK.

Written and presented by Mark Easton
Series producer: Mike Rudin

Country profile: Bhutan
20 Apr 06 |  Country profiles


Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific