Having previously written a series of articles about female friends, I decided this time it was the men’s turn. Project Mr Happy has a good old nose into the lives of four male friends, from early thirties to late sixties, all from very different backgrounds, and all facing the same external pressures and ups and downs as the rest of us, in an attempt to determine if indeed there is a magical formula for the kind of bounce, energy and default smile I wish I possessed.

The 2017 World Happiness Report’s formula for happiness on a national scale features “caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance”.  Other factors, such as GDP per capita and healthy life expectancy, are perhaps predictable, but what intrigues me is that “80% of the variance of happiness across the world occurs within countries”, suggesting that even with all the optimal socio-economic equations in place, there are going to be some miserable buggers (like me) letting the side down.

National quantifiers of happiness aside, what is it, here in grumpy, passive-aggressive, disillusioned, only-19th-happiest-nation Britain, that makes some individuals still so contented, so enthusiastic, so chock-full of seemingly inexhaustible energy, or simply so bloody cheerful?

First up will be marathon runner Tom, a 32-year-old dispatch production operator and dad of three from St Neots. He and his wife Emma offer some illuminating insights into balancing work, relationship, family and finances, the ways in which opposites not only attract but succeed long term, and the pros and cons of being married to “a big kid” …

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