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Simple things in life make us happiest, research shows

06 Jan 2012 | Emma Reynolds

The simple things in life - such as a smile or a walk - make us the happiest, a survey has revealed.  More than a quarter of us say that just having someone be nice to us puts us in a good mood, according to the Feel Good Factor index published by PruHealth.

Although squeezed households still love a bargain, with one in ten saying a good deal cheers us up, most of the things that made us happiest cost nothing.

Spending time with family is the one thing that makes British people most happy, with more than half of the 2,014 adults surveyed putting it top.  A third said that they were most happy when they got to enjoy the achievements of loved ones such as children and grandchildren.

More than a quarter said just a smile or a kind word put them in the best mood, while a quarter said a walk in the sunshine or a good night's sleep was the ticket to happiness.  Nearly a fifth said they perk up by doing something for someone else.

It may surprise some to learn that we are a nation of optimists, with more than half of those surveyed saying they had a 'glass half full' outlook on life.  The over-55s had the most positive approach, with 62 per cent saying they were optimists and only 12 per cent pessimists.

But there was evidence of indulgent habits in the survey too.  More than a quarter said their guilty pleasures included staying in on the sofa, indulging in chocolate or foods they do not normally have and watching a good film or television programme.

Going on holiday was shown to be the biggest treat that people give themselves. Others included going out for a meal, spending time with family and friends and shopping. 

Dr Katie Tryon, health and wellbeing expert at PruHealth, said: 'It would be great if everyone could smile at someone today and get the warm glow from knowing you've made someone happy.

'It's really important for our physical and mental wellbeing to feel good, and as our index shows there are many inexpensive ways to get that feeling, including taking time out to go for a walk.'

How we get the feel-good factor:

  • Spending time with family (56%)
  • Achievements by loved ones including children or grandchildren (30%)
  • Someone being nice or smiling at me (27%)
  • Taking a walk on a beautiful day (24%)
  • Getting a good night's sleep (24%)
  • Doing something for someone else (17%)
  • Being secure on my job/financial security (17%)
  • Spending time with pets (13%)
  • A night going out or to a concert (13%)
  • Keeping fit (12%)
  • Finding a great deal that saves me money (11%)
  • Work achievements (9%)
  • Personal pampering (8%)

See the original source article here

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