A new survey commissioned by entertainment channel W showed that material gifts don’t necessarily bring us great happiness.
The survey was done for Davina McCall’s series, The Davina Hour, and the hour focused on happiness.
It showed that the simple pleasures in life are the best. Out of the 2,000 people surveyed, 56 said a kiss and a cuddle was their top treat, then sharing a laugh, the joy of clean sheets, and stroking a pet.
Nature featured several times in the top 20:
- Stroking a pet (4th, 30%)
- The smell of freshly mown grass (13th, 16%)
- Morning birdsong (18th, 11%)
- Walking barefeet in the sand (20th, 10%)
Doing things for others also featured, including Doing a Good Deed and Giving a Present. I know I feel happy every time I put the bird feed out and fill up their water bath. People also felt happy when they heard from an old friend, received kindness from a stranger and had a compliment, so there are a few things we can all do to make the world a happier place, if we don’t do them already.
Last year for Christmas, my husband gave a donation to SPANA for their mobile veterinary clinic to help care for working elephants in Myanmar. Every time I think of this clinic going about its work helping to care for working animals, it gives me a glow. SPANA do a wonderful job, and I'd far rather have a gift which gave animals the chance to have a happier healthier life, than anything else.
Friendship also rated well, with 21% saying hearing from an old friend made them happy, and 11% having a cup of tea with a friend.
The top 20 pleasures which make us happy were:
- A kiss and a cuddle – 56%
- Laugh with others – 54%
- Clean sheets – 38%
- Stroke a pet – 30%
- Get a bargain – 25%
- Receive a compliment – 24%
- Find money – 21%
- Hear from an old friend – 21%
- Do a good deed – 19%
- Have a lazy Sunday – 18%
- Have a cup of tea with a friend – 17%
- Give a present – 17%
- Smell of freshly mown grass – 16%
- Find out you lost weight – 16%
- Sit in front of a log fire – 14%
- Kindness from a stranger – 14%
- Relax in a warm bath – 12%
- Morning birdsong – 11%
- Find something you’d lost – 11%
- Walk barefoot in the sand – 10%