Ever think that you’d be so much happier if you were the guy driving down the street in a car that costs as much as someone’s house? Turns out, if you’re getting quality Zs and have a happy sex life, you’re the one winning, man. A new study has found the top indicators of happiness, and money doesn’t even hit the top five.
The study conducted by researchers from Oxford Economics and the National Centre for Social Research in Great Britain, asked 8,250 people of varying backgrounds to fill out a 60-question survey to determine what it means to “live well.” The questions covered everything — from the state of an individual’s sleep quality, finances, and job security to their relationships with friends, family and their community. And the results? They weren’t what you’d expect.
The result was the creation of the Sainsbury’s Living Well Index, which generated a list of the top factors that separated the happiest 20 percent from everyone else. In order of biggest influence, sleep quality, sex life, job security, health of close relatives and chatting to neighbors were the top five factors that determined who was actually living well.
Some of these results should come as little surprise, since we already know how a bad sleep schedule affects your health, but the fact that money doesn’t rank at the top of the list might. In fact, according to Metro, researchers found that those who had good sleep and a sex life they were satisfied with (no, that doesn’t mean loads of sex; although tantra might help) had higher “living well” scores than those people with a high income.
The study found that income had very little impact on a person’s perception of well-being. In fact, a 50 percent increase in disposable income only led to a miniscule increase in a person’s “living well” score.
That’s not to say we should all just quit our jobs to have sex and sleep all day. Being unemployed, suffering from problems with physical and mental health, and lacking a strong support network were the top three factors that separated those who were struggling from feeling like they were living well. So while income may not be important, job security certainly is.
So what does that mean for you? Granted, this research was done on people living in Great Britain, but the country bears many similarities to ours. Bottom line, if you want to be happier, it’s time to buddy up with that bed in more ways than one and give those relationships in your life some much-needed attention.
If sleep is your problem, check out these 5 strategies to get some quality z’s. If it’s your sex life, here are the most common sex problems couples run into— and how to solve them. And if it’s your job, don’t worry: You can still land the career of your dreams.