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The ‘science of happiness’ at St Ives


Do you know what it is that makes you happy?

Happiness is a concept we all strive for – some more successfully than others! We all know people who we would describe as ‘happy’ – and unfortunately we’ve all come across unhappy people too – maybe we have been ourselves. For many people, when asked, happiness is something just around the corner; it will come ‘when I retire’, ‘when I win Lotto’, ‘when I lose weight’, ‘when I change jobs’, ‘when I move house’.
But it is possible to be happy right now, whatever your circumstances – and there’s a science to prove it!

It’s called ‘Positive Psychology‘, and if you’ve been fortunate enough to meet St Ives ‘partner in happiness’ Dr Tim Sharp – aka Dr Happy – you will have heard him talk about how to Live Happy. It’s a philosophy underpinning everything we do here at St Ives, and Dr Happy is helping us make it happen!

Finding Real Happiness

While it’s difficult – or even impossible – to control an individual’s level of happiness, it is possible to create an environment that supports it. It’s more than just feeling good at any particular time, which is generally only fleeting. An important part of finding real happiness, according to Dr Happy, also involves ‘feeling connected and part of a community, having positive interactions with others, feeling safe and secure, and enjoying contentment and relaxation’.

Our ‘Live Happy’ Approach

At St Ives Retirement Villages, our ‘Live Happy’ approach is based on extensive research. We’ve worked hard to discover the science on happiness! One interesting factor that came out of the research is that definitions of happiness differ depending on age. As most of us age, the focus of our happiness, and the things that make us happy, change. We now seek lower energy forms of pleasure, which might mean taking less risks (like driving fast cars and bungee jumping!). High energy, high risk activities and lifestyles are less appealing. It sounds obvious, but it’s true – with age comes a shift towards more relaxing forms of pleasure and a lifestyle that is more about peace, and less about stress.

So how does the science of happiness and Positive Psychology benefit residents of St Ives Retirement Villages? Dr Happy, working together with the team at St Ives, is combining his academic credentials and understanding of Positive Psychology with the experience St Ives has in the field of retirement living, with the aim of building something that will create a real and meaningful difference to the lives of everyone who lives in a St Ives Village. That’s the basis of the ‘Live Happy’ approach, and while it is built on credible and proven science, it can be – and is being – practically applied to every St Ives Village to benefit each and every resident.

You can find out more about our science of happiness in the St Ives Happiness Report. Have a happy day!