The World of Work Project

The GREAT DREAM Personal Happiness Model

The GREAT DREAM personal happiness model says there are 10 key things that contribute to happiness that everyone can work on. They spell out the words GREAT DREAM. They are: Giving, Relating, Exercising, Appreciating, Trying out, Direction, Resilience, Emotions, Acceptance and Meaning.

Summary by The World of Work Project

A Podcast

Our podcast exploring happiness is below. It might be of interest:

The GREAT DREAM Personal Happiness Model

The things that make us happy aren’t always the things that we expect. In fact, as the saying goes, it’s often the simplest things that make us happy.

While everyone is different, research has shown that there are 10 things that do consistently contribute towards personal happiness. These factors can be remembers with the mnemonic GREAT DREAM: Giving, Relating, Exercising, Appreciating, Trying out, Direction, Resilience, Emotions, Acceptance and Meaning.

The GREAT DREAM personal happiness model can help you become happier, just like sunflowers and bubbles
You don’t need sunflowers and bubbles to be happy.


Doing things for others, caring, contributing and helping people makes us happier and helps us build strong relationships.

At the World of Work Project, we are big believers in the benefits of volunteering and supporting others in your local community. Doing so can lead to large benefits for volunteers, as well as those being helped.


The second factor in the GREAT DREAM personal happiness model is relating.

Having good relationships and support networks is a powerful contributor to happiness, longevity, health and overall well-being.

We’re big believers in the power of exercise, whatever form it takes…


Exercise improves the body and the mind. It makes us happier, healthier and more balanced. Even simple things like walking more made a difference.


The fourth factor in the GREAT DREAM personal happiness model is appreciating.

Mindfulness, gratitude and awareness of the world around us makes people happier and increases well being. Just stopping and appreciating is all it takes.

Many people try meditation as a way to increase their mindfulness and appreciation. We have produced some guidance on meditation and recorded a series of six guided meditations that might also be of interest. We’ve included the guided meditation on “Joy and Bliss” below:

Trying Out

Learning, mastering and developing new skills helps us feel engaged, motivated and rewarded, all of which help make us happier.


The sixth factor in the GREAT DREAM personal happiness model is direction.

Working towards stretching but achievable goals is rewarding, motivating, keeps us active, gives us a sense of progress and makes us happy. You can learn more about the power of goals through our posts on goal-setting.

Springs are resilient. Are you?


Improving our ability to bounce back up when the world knocks us down makes us happier. Our mind-sets and beliefs can help with this. You can read more in our posts on resilience.


The eighth factor in the GREAT DREAM personal happiness model is emotions.

Focusing on helpful emotions like gratitude, joy and contentment and the positive things that happen in life helps people be happier. You can learn more about emotions from our posts on emotions and emotional intelligence.


Being yourself and accepting yourself for who you are is a liberating and positive thing to do. It reduces stress and increases well-being.


The last factor in The GREAT DREAM personal happiness model is meaning.

Finding purpose or meaning helps people find direction and belonging and gives people something to work towards which increases happiness. Finding meaning in life isn’t always easy, but it’s possible. Learning to understand your personal values might be a good first step.

A dream catcher representing The GREAT DREAM personal happiness model
Maybe a dream catcher would help you catch your GREAT DREAMS? Probably not.

Learning More

Personal happiness is a fascinating subject. It’s often not the things that we expect which make us happy.

Luckily, there’s lots we can do to improve our happiness, if we’re willing to slow down and put some effort in. We mentioned meditation already. And resilience clearly contribute, as does learning more about some types of stress. These five simple things you can do to increase your wellbeing might also be of interest.

Our podcast on stress buckets and reducing stress is below. It too might be of interest.

The World of Work Project View

This is a great list of things that everyone can reflect on and which can help people improve their happiness and well-being. There is nothing revolutionary in here, but there is nothing revolutionary about happiness and wellbeing either.

We believe that many people would benefit from talking some time to think about the ten points in the GREAT DREAM model, ask themselves some questions and make a few simple decisions about what they could do differently that could help increase their well-being and happiness.

One other thing we’d add, though, is that we think that “happiness” is an elusive goal. In our view, it’s better to aim for contentment and a balanced positive state of being over the course of your lifetime. Happiness as a strong positive state, in our opinion, cannot be sustained. In fact, we think you need the downs in life to provide the springboards for the ups.

Sources and further reading

Where possible we always recommend that people read up on the original sources of information and ideas.

To learn more about the GREAT DREAM model, and happiness in general, please read up on the work of Action for Happiness, a movement of people committed to building a happier and more caring society


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