A welcome reminder of the good things in life.
Living in an era with a 24-hour news cycle and endless updates on social media gives many the perception that the world is becoming more chaotic by the day. But when you talk to people as individuals, they think their lives are pretty darn okay. A recent poll by Gallup found that 85% of Americans are “satisfied” with their personal lives, and 14% are dissatisfied. When taken in context, that’s 8% higher satisfaction than when the poll started in 1979.
One of the keys to living a satisfied life is knowing what makes you happy.
A new poll of 2,000 Londoners released by Babybel Cheese has found the top 20 things that make them happy and that might just work for you, too. The list is refreshing because it’s about enjoying the simple things in life instead of chasing status or Instagram followers.
According to the poll, here are the top 20 things that bring people happiness.
1. A good night’s sleep
2. A sunny blue sky
4. Receiving a compliment or praise
5. Booking a holiday
6. Crying with laughter
7. Getting a quiet moment to yourself
8. Eating your favorite snack
9. Pets being happy to see you
10. Looking back at old photographs
11. Finishing a great book
12. Helping an elderly person with something
13. Finishing a workout
14. Hearing children really belly-laughing
15. Finding a parking space when it’s busy
16. A newly-cleaned car
17. When your football or other sports team wins
18. A heart-to-heart with a loved one
19. Volunteering or helping others
20. Finding out your children have done well at school
The No. 1 thing that makes people happy is a good night’s sleep. It makes a lot of sense because when we sleep, our bodies and minds do many essential things that can make the next day so much better.
However, when we don't get enough sleep, our brain's ability to adapt to new experiences, known as brain plasticity, diminishes. So, we have more difficulty processing memories and learning new things. Sleep deprivation can significantly affect our mood, making us more susceptible to feelings of anger and heightened emotional responses. In fact, Cedars Sinai says that a lack of sleep can lead to a host of mental problems, including higher levels of stress, frustration, depression and anxiety.
A good night's sleep isn't just about feeling alert—it's about maintaining our mental well-being, too.
The poll also shows that basic human social actions can provide a lot of happiness, whether that’s sharing a joke with a friend, working on a creative project or spending time with our children. It also shows the importance that giving back can have on our mental well-being.
The good news is that when we’re feeling down, so many simple things can easily make us happy, most of which can be found in our own backyards. The real lesson from the poll shows that we could all be a lot happier if we adopted an attitude of gratitude and stopped making things so complicated.