Simple Things in Life Make Us Happiest, Research Shows

A survey revealed that the simple things in life, such as a hug or a stroll, make us happy. According to the Feel Good Factor Index published by PruHealth, more than a quarter of people say that being treated with kindness boosts their mood.

Most of the activities we enjoy cost nothing, even though many households are still on a budget. One in ten people mentioned that finding a good bargain brings them joy.

Smiling and kindness are significant sources of happiness. Over half of the respondents said that a simple smile or act of kindness makes them happy. Additionally, more than half of the 2,014 adults surveyed stated that spending time with their family is what they enjoy most.

The survey highlighted the following top sources of happiness:

  • Family time (56%)
  • Accomplishments of loved ones, like children or grandchildren (30%)
  • Receiving a smile or act of kindness (27%)
  • Walking on a sunny day (24%)
  • Sleeping well (24%)
  • Doing something to help someone else (17%)
  • Security in career/financial situation (17%)
  • Spending time with pets (13%)
  • A night out with friends or at a concert (13%)
  • Keeping fit (12%)
  • Finding a good bargain (11%)
  • Work achievements (9%)
  • Personal pampering (8%)

A quarter of the respondents said that a sunny walk or a restful night’s sleep can also put them in a great mood. Nearly half stated that they feel better when doing something nice for others.

Interestingly, the survey found that the United States is a nation of optimists, with more than half of the respondents describing themselves as having a “glass half-full” perspective. Those over 55 were the most optimistic, with 62% considering themselves optimists, while only 14% described themselves as pessimists.

The survey also revealed some indulgent behaviors: Over a quarter of respondents indulge in staying at home, eating chocolate or other treats, and watching a great film or TV program. The most popular self-treat reported was taking a holiday. Other favorite activities include shopping and dining out with friends and family, emphasizing the importance of spending time together.

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