Who says money buys you happiness?

Is money really worth all the stress?


Lyndsay Anderson
@AVogelUK


06 November 2013

Who says money buys you happiness?

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently revealed a list of the happiest and unhappiest places in Britain. The report revealed that the Scottish Islands are where the happiest people in the UK are, with Bedford and Merseyside being the unhappiest.

Self-worth, life satisfaction and anxiety were also rated within the poll. Scotland was rated the most-laid back country with low levels of anxiety, with Dumfries and Galloway (D & G) reporting the lowest levels in the whole of the UK. Not only are the residents of D & G least stressed, they are also amongst the happiest and rate life satisfaction highly.

Being Scottish myself, and more importantly, from Dumfries and Galloway, according to this report perhaps I should be writing this blog with my feet up and swinging in my chair. However, working in North Ayrshire, which interestingly came in as one of the most anxious areas in the country, I feel I’m a bit of a mixed bag.

Northern Ireland emerged as the happiest country in the UK, with many rating life satisfaction as nine out of 10 despite the fact that it reportedly has the least disposable income.

Going with the theme of money, Inner London, which has the highest disposable income, emerged as having one of the lowest life satisfaction ratings.

The ONS report revealed that this time, the higher overall scores appeared in rural areas. Where previous research conduced that happiness was determined by factors such as health and wealth, the ONS are now doing further research into whether “access to green spaces” is now a leading factor in what makes people happier.

I imagine D & G like everywhere else has its share of stressed people due to factors such as job losses and health matters; in fact I know it has, but maybe having the countryside on your doorstep makes these things a little more bearable.

However, if you don’t have easy access to the fresh country air, or even if you do, but still feel a little anxious or down from time to time, you may wish to try St John’s Wort (Hypericum). This sunny herb is well known to lift people’s mood and ease mild anxiety.

So to summarise, there are two things I feel we can all take from this study:

Perhaps money can’t buy you happiness and life isn’t always a walk in the park but maybe taking that walk will make you feel a little better.

The 9 happiest places to live in the UK are (ratings out of 10. Data from ONS)

Perth and Kinross – 7.6

Northern Ireland – 7.6

Monmouthshire – 7.6

Argyll and Bute – 7.6

Cheshire East – 7.6

Gwynedd – 7.6

Scottish Highlands – 7.7

Dumfries and Galloway – 7.7

Eilean Siar, Orkney and Shetland – 7.9

[1] Personal Well-being across the UK, 2011/12  and 2012/13 [online] Available at:

<http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/HTMLDocs/dvc124/wrapper.html>

[Accessed 30 October 2013]

[2] Swinford, S. 2013. ‘Living in the countryside makes people happier, ONS suggests’ The Telegraph [online] 23 October. Available at: <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/10399019/Living-in-the-countryside-makes-people-happier-ONS-suggests.html>

[Accessed 30 October 2013].

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