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What Makes Us Happy? Survey Finds Men More Satisfied with Their Looks than Women

Update Date: Apr 06, 2013 01:03 PM EDT

Although people might have different priorities and viewpoints on what leads to happiness, a survey conducted by Benenden Health from the United Kingdom found that certain principles of life contributes to happiness in all people. However, the survey also found that gender norms might play a factor in how much happiness people get from these aspects of life. The survey measured 12 factors of life and found that the average adult rated their happiness at 64 percent, with women and men reporting very different levels of happiness when it came to the multiple factors.

The researchers found that men were overwhelmingly more satisfied with their physical appearance and thus, rated their levels of happiness on this scale higher than women. Men also reported feeling happier when it came down to career options, finances and job security. These factors fell under the category of perception which measured happiness based on how others viewed your successes and accomplishments. Women, on the other hand, felt higher levels of happiness when it came to love life, sex, and family.

The study also found that people in general were the most affected by monetary concerns. Roughly 46 percent of the interviewees stated that they dealt with day-to-day worries regarding money issues. The participants stated that an average of 132 pounds extra a month would drastically improve their happiness. The researchers stated that this sum is relatively small, which suggests that having an excessive amount of money is not on every one's minds. Despite the fact that people did not feel financially fulfilled, six in 10 people stated that they saw the "cup half full," which is considered to be a positive outlook on life, as opposed to its negative counterpart, "cup half empty."

Even though over half of the participants had a positive viewpoint on life, one in five couples reported that their optimism declined after getting married. One third of the participants said that they would be happier if their spouses showed more commitment. Furthermore, other factors that contributed to a better mood are good weather, healthy diet, satisfying employment and positive reinforcement from supervisors and bosses, avoiding or successfully fighting an illness or long-term injury, spending more time with the family, and good sports results from favorite teams.

The study showed a lot of discrepancies between what men and women felt were important in life. In addition, the study also revealed that older people seemed to be happier and more optimistic than the younger generation.

"Certainly, a positive attitude goes a long way towards creating a feeling of well-being which in turn can only be good for our long term health," said Paul Keenan from Benenden Health.

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