Continuing on my search to read myself happy I turned to this statistical study based approach by Paul Dolan. Dolan has been a government adviser on national happiness. He advises companies and policy makers. If there's anyone you should listen to on the subject of positivity then surely this is the man.
But I must say, after reading books based on imaginative theories, myth and religion based conclusions, Paul Dolan's book seemed a little dry. The book's first chapters are not very appealing to a girl who studied English Literature: peppered with charts and explanations of statistical analysis. But once you get past this there were some very practicle and real bits of advice to follow. Here is what I can summerise from what I found useful:
1. You can make yourself more happy by chosing to pay more attention to the things that make you happy. This sounds super obvious and not even worth saying. But then you start thinking about the way you sit on the train and focus on someone's annoying cough, or about the fact that you love spending time with your family but rarely make time to do so. So do more of what you enjoy doing, pay less attention to things that annoy you.
2. People derive more enjoyment from activities when they give them their undivided attention. So, when you're watching Game of Thrones don't have a text conversation at the same time. Devote all your attention to those sex scenes my friend! As I do.
3. It's not just pleasurable activities that make you happy, you also need purposeful activities too - like work and doing the laundry. Some people are pleasure machines, spending most of their time choosing pleasurable activities, some people are purpose machines, but everyone needs both pleasure and purpose to be happy. This explains why people want to have children. Children provide far more purpose to your life.
There is of course more. But you'll have to read Dolan's book yourself.
This book had much less effect on my state of happiness than Your Erroneous Zones or A New Earth which I would highly recommend if you want to find happiness. But this is a different and more practical approach. For these reasons I rate it 6/10.