LONDON — If happiness in life were a test, many people would be getting an “F,” according to a new survey of 2,000 British adults. The average respondent rated their happiness level at just 6.3 out of 10, and a quarter say they are just too busy to enjoy their lives.
It seems free time is directly connected to happiness, as respondents who were over the age of 55 and retired reported slightly higher happiness scores (6.9 out of 10 on average). Conversely, young adults (ages 25-34) had the lowest average rating of all surveyed age groups (a dismal 5.9 out of 10).
On a similar note, the survey also found that respondents over the age of 55 spend more time than any other age group focusing on activities and topics they genuinely enjoy. Among older respondents, one in four experience at least 13 enjoyable experiences per month, compared to just one in ten millennials.
“From the research it’s clear to see that some younger generations are finding it harder to find pleasure in their daily lives,” says Jo Hemmings, a behavioral psychologist, in a statement. “As we get older and wiser, the realization that life is too short to worry so much means more are saying ‘carpe diem’ to life. It’s a common phenomenon that you start to care less about what other people think as you age, which clearly leads to a happier lifestyle.”
While all of the daily responsibilities of everyday life feel like matters of the greatest importance in the moment, more than half of respondents admitted that they wish they had enjoyed their life more when they were younger. This was true even among young adult respondents.
Young adults are especially busy according to the survey, with that age group being twice as likely to cancel social plans due to commitments at work compared to baby boomers. Young adults also work more overtime and spend less overall time with friends than respondents over the age of 55.
Over the course of an average week, respondents only put themselves and their own enjoyment ahead of other commitments just four times. If that statistic is broken down even further according to gender, women only put their enjoyment ahead of everything else three times per week, compared to four times for the average male respondent. This coincides with the survey’s other finding that women respondents spend more of their lives dedicated to work than men.
At least some respondents are aware that they are spending too much time on their commitments; three in 10 say they prioritize too many things, or people, ahead of themselves and their enjoyment on a daily basis.
One of the survey’s more interesting findings was that many respondents reported loosening up a bit and not worrying as much about the “little things” past the age of 35. As far as adopting a more care-free lifestyle, 41% say booking a short weekend trip on an impulse would be exciting, and a tenth say they would like to purchase clothes they wouldn’t usually wear.