Dump those self-help books, which claim to make you happy-as scientists have now revealed the true secret to happiness.
Scientists have suggested that people who go to church, stay thin, avoid worrying about their careers and have emotionally stable partners should be well on their way to achieving the sought-after state of mind.
Researchers of the University of Melbourne have challenged the theory that an individual's long-term happiness depends on their genes. They have found changes in lifestyle led to significant long-term changes in general satisfaction.
Bruce Headey of the University of Melbourne questioned people in Germany about their jobs, social lives and religious activities during a 25-year period. Nearly, some 60,000 people responded to their surveys.
The findings showed one of the biggest influences on a person's well-being was their partner's level of neuroticism. The research found those with partners who scored highly on tests for neuroticism were more likely to be unhappy-something which tended to last as long as the particular relationship.
A long-term increase in general satisfaction was also observed among those who placed significant weight on family values and altruistic behaviour.
Having strong religious views also played an important role. "People who attend church regularly seem to be happier than people who are not religious," the Daily Mail quoted Headey as saying.
However, the scientists found those who prioritised their jobs and material success were less content than their peers and experienced a lasting decline in happiness.
Women reported being significantly less happy when they were obese.