Every planet you colonize in Slipways comes with luck. The more the colony settles, the happier those who live on the planet and improve your entire colony. If the luck of your empire reaches too low a threshold, you are kicked out of the office and you lose the game. You want to keep your citizens and the only way to achieve this is to satisfy all their needs and improve trade between your planets.
You can see the overall rating of the luck of your empire at the top of the screen, where there is a small heart icon. Next to the small one will be a large percentage, indicating an overall negative or positive increase. The larger the number representing the overall happiness of your empire, the smaller it shows how it changes. Normally you will see a smaller number with a negative amount, and this is quite common when you progressively build and expand your empire in Slipways.
The best way to manage your happiness is to focus on changing any brand new world you colonize from Struggling to Established to zero. Your empire will always lose luck whenever the planet gets into a fight. Turning it around is critical, but you can go beyond making happiness positive when you succeed. For a planet to succeed, you have to trade two imports and two exports. In the description of the planet, you can see what these requirements are, and by creating trade routes to meet them, you will get the overall benefits of the empire.
Alternatively, if you have population resources on certain planets that do nothing, they are considered unemployed. Even if the planet does not require a population, it is better to get them to work, because any source of the unemployed population also reduces the happiness of your empire.
When you achieve positive happiness, the real trick is to take a break and click on the arrow at the top right, where you can speed up time without doing anything, or you can explore the planets. If you’re lucky, you can scale it back to a reasonable 80 or 90% before trying to colonize new places in the galaxy.