The Bishop of Bolton explains what happiness means to him.

What is happiness to you?

Happiness for me is not something dependent on circumstances, though like any human being, receiving good news, being with people I love and value, my football team winning for a change, makes me feel happy at that time.

My understanding and experiences of happiness is that it is about fulfilment and purposefulness, something deep and lasting, not superficial and fleeting, and based on circumstances.

How much of a part does religion lay in your happiness, and have you seen people who embrace religion become happier. If so how?

As a Christian, I find the word “joy” is in some ways more helpful than happiness, because in my own experiences, as well as being alongside other people, sometimes in the most awful circumstances I have seen joy on the faces of those suffering great physical pain; I see joy in fellow Christians suffering persecution for their faith.

Therefore, in answer to this question, people of faith who have been grasped by the Lord’s love for them do not by virtue of this have an easier life, but as St Paul put it — writing from a prison cell, where he was locked up for no crime except preaching the Christian Gospel — I have learned in all circumstances to be content.

How do you achieve happiness in your daily life?

I find I experience joy or happiness by ensuring I try to put God first in all things.

The more I seek to align my will to his, the more things work out, not always as I expect, but for good — mine and others.

What do you think is most important to true happiness and why?

As a Christian, seeking to live by the two great commandments — love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself.”