With the majority of people having extended periods of time in 2020 to reflect on what makes them happy, our latest piece of research shows the top five situations people said bring them the most joy.
Spending time with family (30%)
To encourage your family to spend more time together, try sitting down for dinner together every night or if you can’t visit your family just yet, set up a family group chat to keep in touch with everyone at once.
Financial security (14%)
It’s easy to compare your financial situation to other peoples, but these are your own goals.
To help facilitate financial security, make a budget and stick to it! This is the easiest way to know exactly where your money is going and what you will be able to save. If you need help getting started, try using our budget tracker.
Spending time with a partner/spouse (11%)
Try scheduling in tech-free time as a couple to remove any distractions and showing your partner they have your full attention. You can also try arranging weekly date-nights. This can be as simple as a night in at home cooking dinner and watching a movie, or as extravagant as a weekend getaway.
Travelling with family/friends (7%)
As the world begins to open up, you can now book trips with family and friends. However, a trip away doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend a lot of money going abroad. Staycations have become increasingly popular this year and could be the perfect way to explore more of the UK with your loved ones.
Being able to treat myself and buy whatever I want (6%)
Treating yourself can be a great act of self-care and more time at home has led many of us to understand the importance of this, both mentally and physically. From monthly subscriptions to one-off purchases, there are some great low-cost purchases that can help to boost happiness and put self-care first. Self-care can be as simple as getting a good night's sleep or taking a moment of peace by downloading a mindfulness app on your phone.
While these simple pleasures can be a good source of joy for some, our recent study highlighted that 10% of Brits admitted they simply don’t know what makes them happy.
There is often a perception that having the latest “must-have” items, such as a smartphone or the latest clothes, is a source of real happiness for people, but in reality, this may not be the case.
In fact, only 4% of people admitted that having the best gadgets is their source of happiness, which highlights the fact that material items won’t truly bring people long-lasting joy for the vast majority.
Anne-Marie Gawen, a Mental Health First Aid Instructor and Wellbeing Speaker & Trainer, offers her advice on how we can move away from the pursuit of physical items to make us happy: "Don't get caught on the happiness treadmill - always thinking that if you get that new phone or handbag - then you will be happy.
“Happiness is actually created within you, so those things are great, but you will NOT fall for what is known as ‘Hedonistic Adaptation’. Not long after getting the new ‘must-have’ you get used to it and want the next thing, so spinning on the treadmill/happiness trap.
“Build happiness and contentment from within. If I could give you ONE tip, it would be to make a written note every day of three good things that have happened to you. The science of the efficacy of this practice is overwhelming - it's easy - but powerful."
Spending time with family and the fond memories that are created as a result, are a greater source of happiness than material things. This is why this activity is held in the highest regard by people during lockdown, who may previously have taken spending time with loved ones for granted.
To offer more insight on why this may be, Shelley Bosworth, a life and mindset coach, said:
“Experiences become part of you. Our identity and beliefs are an accumulation of our life’s experiences (good and bad). Where we’ve been, what we have learned and the memory the experience evokes lasts for far longer than tangible things.
“Things are not life-changing, things may put a smile on our face temporarily but actually what happens is when we get things we adapt, and they become our new normal.
“Experiences feel more of a one-off, so we are more appreciative of them and they mean more.
“Be grateful – take time to appreciate what you do have and what is good in life. Appreciate the small things, not just the ‘big life-changing’ moments.”
This mindset has certainly been evident whilst the country was lockdown, with many relying on stripping everything back and really valuing the time spent with those most important in their lives.
It is clear that the events of 2020 have provided a lot of us with a new perspective and appreciation for the little things we may not have previously held in such high regard.
Whilst notable numbers of people have struggled to identify what makes them truly happy, keeping loved ones close and prioritising experiences that will provide long-lasting fulfilment, as opposed to chasing short-term satisfaction, could certainly go a long way in boosting feelings of joy.
For more wellbeing tips, read our guide to some of the best products to combat stress and anxiety.