Optimism on the up - 63% feel happier than five years ago

Article date: 16 June 2010

  • Aviva launches “Tell Us Your Story” campaign.

New research from Aviva reveals an uplifting insight into the UK’s state of happiness. Almost two thirds (63%) of the nation feel happier than five years ago and seven out of 10 are content with their current situation.

Research from the Aviva Feel-Good Insight Study, launched today, shows that relationships, security and health hold the most sway on our sense of wellbeing – way above our feelings towards material goods. The most commonly cited "happiness factors" are:

  1. Enough income to pay for essentials (85%)
  2. Good health (85%)
  3. Stable and secure family life (81%)
  4. Getting married or meeting a soulmate (73%)
  5. Spending an anniversary with a partner (58%).

However, despite this air of optimism, there is evidence of hidden frustrations, with a third of people (35%) feeling undervalued or unappreciated in life. Today Aviva announces the launch of its Tell Us Your Story campaign, which invites the public to recognise and reward those who have made a positive impact on their lives or in the community over the past year.

The findings also show where people live can also determine levels of contentment. Of the UK’s 10 largest cities, Edinburgh inhabitants are the happiest and Londoners are the least happy.

UK’s happiness map

  1. Edinburgh
  2. Liverpool
  3. Bristol
  4. Manchester
  5. Glasgow
  6. Leicester, Birmingham and Sheffield
  7. Leeds
  8. London.

Despite an emphasis on security and relationships, the research also picked up one point that we can all do to brighten one another’s day. A simple heart-felt "thank you" from a friend or loved one has the "feel-good factor" for 55% of the population. This compares favourably to earning more money (42%) or possessing materialistic goods such as an impressive car (16%). The absence of a "thank you" in daily life has the opposite effect on happiness: 70% of people feel unhappy when people don’t take the time to say "thank you".

To redress this balance the Aviva Tell Us Your Story campaign invites the public to say "thank you" by recognising and rewarding local heroes online at www.avivatellusyourstory.co.uk. Weekly prizes of £1,000 will be granted as a result of public votes on the site for the local hero that most captures the nation’s heart. One overall winner will be chosen by a celebrity judging panel to receive a prize worth £10,000.

Dr Pam Spurr, behaviour expert and "happiness doctor", said: “A fundamental part of being human is how our relationships govern our emotional wellbeing. Studies consistently show self-esteem from feeling secure has a huge impact on levels of happiness and it is those people who feel valued and recognised by family members and peers who feel the most fulfilled in life.”

Gary Price, marketing director for Aviva, said: “It is interesting to see that, despite the recession, the last five years have allowed many to reassess what is truly important to them in life. At Aviva we understand that it’s often the little acts of kindness that can mean the most to people so Tell Us Your Story is a great way to recognise and reward the people who matter to us.”



Daisy Swan, Veronica Rossini, Greg Double or Gill Corish at Blue Rubicon
Telephone: 0207 260 2700
E-mail: AvivaUK@bluerubicon.com

Aviva Press Office
Sarah Poulter
Telephone: 01904 452828 / out of hours 07800 691569
E-mail: sarah.poulter@aviva.co.uk

Notes to editors:

About the Research
The research for Aviva was carried out online by Populus. Populus interviewed 2,280 adults in Britain between 4 and 6 June 2010.  The data has been weighted to be representative of all people in Britain. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rule. For more information see www.populus.co.uk.

About Aviva

  • Aviva is the world’s fifth largest* insurance group, serving 53 million customers across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific
  • Aviva's main business activities are long-term savings, fund management and general insurance, with worldwide total sales of £45.1 billion and funds under management of £379 billion at 31 December 2009 
  • We are the largest insurance services provider in the UK and one of the leading providers of life and pensions products in Europe  
  • Aviva’s life and pensions business in the UK has a total market share of 10.3%** and a leading position in its key markets of savings, protection and annuities.
  • The Aviva media centre at www.aviva.com/media includes images, company and product information and a news release archive
  • For broadcast-standard video, please visit www.aviva.com/media/video.  
  • Follow us on twitter: www.twitter.com/avivaplc.

* based on gross worldwide premiums at 31 December 2008
** Source: ABI data released March 2010

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