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Naomi Simson dog dexter family

Earlier this year we released some survey findings about what makes people happy. RedBalloon is in the business of creating ‘good times’, so we wanted to find out what gives people joy. When do people feel the happiest? And what we discovered was not only reassuring, but grounding in terms of what’s really at the core of happiness.

We discovered that 87 per cent of respondents are happy with life overall – which is wonderful. But we also asked what would put a smile on their face. The most popular response (44%) – regardless of age, gender, financial situation or any of that other cosmetic stuff – was that people just want to spend time with their friends and family. What a great message to see on International Happiness Day.

Putting aside our differences – our gender, where we live and even how much money we earn – what most of us are really seeking are the simple pleasures in life. We want to spend time and create memories with our loved ones. This is the key to happiness for many…at least according to the survey we ran with almost 2500 people.

The other popular choices also reflect this desire for the simple things – 24% of people find enjoyment spending time with children, and others seek out animals for company (11%). So it seems we’re not all that different after all. And interestingly, when we asked the respondents to rank the area of life they gave the greatest “happiness importance” to; home life and health came out on top. So the recipe for happiness should include looking after ourselves a little better, and spending a little more time with our nearest and dearest. It’s a pretty simple formula really.

Back in February 2011 I wrote a blog musing about the topic of Happiness, so it’s something that’s been bubbling away in my mind for quite a while.

I wrote: “I know I am a very positive person (sometimes painfully so.) But I don’t wake up in the morning and say ‘I’m going to be happy today.’ I go and do my yoga, chat to my children, pat the dog, go to work…. Get on with whatever is planned for the day.” It’s interesting to look back on this – my “recipe for happiness” I suppose – and compare it to the results of this survey. It seems I was just going about my day in a way that made me happy, but in doing so, I was ticking off each of those things identified in the survey as having a happiness impact…and I didn’t even know it. For those of us who are “happy people”, perhaps it all becomes second nature – we know what works for us, what makes us feel fulfilled and valued and loved.

Have you stopped recently to think…

  • What is your own personal definition of happiness?
  • When do you experience the emotion happiness – is it different that joy, pleasure, contentment, satisfaction?
  • When was the last time I felt deeply happy –or really belly laughed?

So here’s your challenge for today (and other days). Spend a little more time with your loved ones, have a conversation with a child, or simply show some love to your four legged friend. We’ve done the research…so we know it’ll put a smile on your dial.

Perhaps on this Fathers Day you will choose a shared experience? Because we know that shared ‘good times’ are intrinsically linked to happiness.

Photo: the famous Dexter Dog from @dextersworld fame – (first appeared on LinkedIn)

Reader Interactions


  1. Thanks Naomi – this really resonates with me as so many of your posts do. I never leave a comment so I just wanted to say thanks for sharing your thoughts and reflections – they contribute to my happiness as well! =)

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