BBC 6 minute English-The secret of happiness

BBC 6 minute English-The secret of happiness

BBC 6 minute English-The secret of happiness


Transcript of the podcast

NB: This is not a word for word transcript

Rob: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I’m Rob and with me today is Finn

Finn: (sounding glum) Hi Rob

Rob: Finn you’re sounding a bit down in the dumps – you know, a bit miserable

Finn: Well Rob I am. It’s raining again… I’ve got no money… and I’m feeling unfit too – just look at me

Rob: Hmm. Well I’ve got some news today that might put a smile on your face. It’s about a new study that tells us how we can make ourselves happier. And we’ll be using some words about happiness too

Finn: Well that’s sounds good and I’m feeling a lot happier already, thank you, Rob

Rob: So Finn, what other things make you feel happy

Finn: The finer things in life – good food, fine wine, things like that. And you Rob

Rob: For me, it’s got to be… everything! Nothing worries me and I always look for the positive things even in a bad situation. You could say I’m happy-go-lucky! And to keep you happy, let’s see if you know the answer to today’s question. The World Happiness Database has ranked countries in order of how happy their people are – or to be more precise – their ‘satisfaction with life’. Do you know which country came top of the list? Was it

a) Finland

b) Canada

c) Costa Rica

Finn: I think Finland has a high quality of life but let’s say the happiest nation is Canada

Rob: Canada, ok. We’ll find out if you are right at the end of the programme. So, let’s talk more about happiness. There’s been some good news from Holland – that’s where the World Happiness Database is – at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam

Finn: It’s been collecting the results of studies about happiness from all over the world

Rob: And now all that information has been put together to produce some interesting results

Finn: Surely, Rob, happiness is a state of mind – so different things make different people content – or happy – depending on their mood or situation at the time

Rob: Yes, but this research has found some factors that we all share when we are searching for happiness. It also found what made people unhappy

Finn: So, maybe things like not having enough money or not going on holiday

Rob: Nothing like that, not materialistic values. Unhappy people are more aware of their life goals – things they want to achieve because they want to change their life for the better. Does that sound like you Finn

Finn: Not me Rob. I lead such a hectic – or busy – life that I don’t always get time to think about the future

Rob: That’s good because the study found having an active life is most important for a happy and rewarding life – that means a feeling of satisfaction and pleasure. There are other reasons too as we can hear from the Director of the World Happiness Database, Professor Veenhoven. When in life does he say we are happiest

Professor Rudd Veenhoven, Director of World Happiness Database

Research has shown that we can make ourselves happier because we see that happiness does change over time, and that these changes are not just a matter of better circumstances but also better dealing with life. Elderly people tend to be wise and for that reason, happier

Finn: OK, our happiness changes over time. It’s older people – the elderly – who are happiest because, he says, they are wiser. They understand things more and have learnt to deal with the problems in life. So Rob, you’re old so you should be happy, right

Rob: Wrong, Finn! The study has also found having children – which I do – lowers your happiness level

Finn: But it does say your happiness increases when they grow up, your children grow up, and leave home

Rob: That’s good to hear. The study also says if you think you’re good looking, rather than if you actually are, makes you happier. So you might be really ugly but if you think you’re handsome then you’re happy. Isn’t that right Finn

Finn: Right yeah, I guess that makes me the happiest man on the planet, Rob

Rob: Did you also know, being in a long-term relationship and going out for dinner a lot also makes you happier

Finn: Oh, so are you saying I need to do these things to be happy

Rob: Yes Finn. But luckily for you, the study has also found that being sad for ten per cent of the time is actually good for you. Let’s face it – we can’t be happy all the time

Finn: That’s comforting to know – but Rob you can cheer me up – or make me happier – by telling me that I answered today’s question correctly

Rob: We’ll see! Earlier I asked you which country did The World Happiness Database rank as having the greatest satisfaction with life

Finn: I said Canada

Rob: I’m sure the Canadians are very happy people, but you’re wrong. All those countries are in the top ten but Costa Rica is at number one. Hopefully this programme has put you in a good mood. Join us again soon for 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English

Both: Bye

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