Happiness in the UK

Happiness in the UK

Making more time for moments of calm

How Happy is the UK?

The United Kingdom, where enjoying a quiet cup of tea, queuing is a national pastime and Sunday dinner a sacred tradition can seem like a curious place to the rest of the world.

What makes Brits happy? How well do Brits look after their health and well-being? The UK consistently scores lower than its European neighbours in the World Happiness Index. Why is that?

We’ve carried out a survey to celebrate the International Day of Happiness to find out what exactly makes Brits happy and how often they take the time for that important moment of calm to improve mental health & wellbeing.

Where is the happiest region in the UK?

We surveyed over 1,500 people and asked them on a scale of 1 - 7 how happy they were, generally speaking. 75% of people in the UK are somewhat happy to very happy, which is great news! But where is the happiest location in the UK?

You might be surprised to find that London scored the highest for happiness with an average of just over 5 out of 7. The South East of England scored the lowest with around 3 out of 7.

Which age group is happiest in the UK?

Our survey found that people in the UK seem to get happier as they get older.

  • The most happy group were those after retirement age, with around 70% saying they were happy. And only around 1 in 6 saying they were unhappy.
  • The least happy age group were those between 18-24, with 1 in 3 saying they were unhappy… which is interesting because...
  • When we asked the question “at what age were you the most happy?” the average age came in around 19-20…
  • So it's possible that whilst finances, college/exam stresses all make a 19-24 year old less happy but looking back, they actually turn out to be the happiest days of your life.

Where is your happy place?

Happiness means different things to different people. Some find happiness in groups or with loved ones, others prefer their own personal space. We asked people where their happy place was:

  • A third of people said that home was their happy place.
  • 1 in 10 said the countryside
  • 1 in 10 said with a loved one

What smell makes you happy?

A lot of our happiness is linked with memories and it is believed that our sense of smell is closely associated with our memory. We asked people what smell makes them feel happy:

  • The top food smells were bread, bacon, chocolate, toast and beer
  • The top natural smells were freshly cut grass, flowers and the seaside
  • Top manmade smells were fresh laundry, perfume and petrol.

A North-South divide?

Interestingly the smell most likely to make Northerners happy is coffee, where across London and the Midlands they yearn for the smell of cut grass. The South loves the smell of freshly baked bread.

What colour makes you happy?

Here at Ricola we were ecstatic to find out that the colour of happiness in the UK is yellow! Blue, green and pink were close behind.

Finding a moment of calm

In today’s world it can be hard to find a quiet minute for a bit of headspace.

In our study we found that only one third of Brits make a conscious effort to find a moment of calm everyday, with only one third managing it sometimes. The rest don’t even try to find it.

If you find yourself unable to take that moment of calm, the NHS suggests these five steps to improve your health & wellbeing.

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