Many people when asked what happiness is would suggest that it comes in short bursts. Like listening to a good song, enjoying a delicious meal, or coming to a nice wood fire from the cold outside. You would be led to believe that long-lasting happiness is simply unachievable.

In actual fact, all of those things are pleasures, not happiness itself. If you’re not familiar with the difference, then I’ll sum it up for you: too much pleasure becomes un-pleasurable. Just listen to that good song over and over and you’ll see what I mean.

Happiness on the other hand “is not linked to an activity”, argues Dr Matthieu Ricard — “Happiness is a state of being”. Dr Ricard has practiced this state of being for over 30 years, and has published a book about it titled ‘Happiness: A guide to developing life’s most important skill‘. Recently The Independent suggested that he may be the happiest man in the world, after they performed a 5-hour brain scan on him.

When he came out, he smiled and remarked “That was like a mini-retreat”.