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Northern Ireland is the happiest place in the UK

Northern Ireland is the happiest place in the UK
4th October 2016

According to a well-being poll conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Northern Ireland is the happiest and most content place to live in the UK.

The survey, which was published in July of this year and included responses from 158,000 participants, asked people to rate out of ten their overall satisfaction with their life.

According to the survey, people in Northern Ireland ranked their life satisfaction at an average of 7.85 out of ten, while in London they rated their satisfaction at 7.51 out of ten. Those in Northern Ireland rated their general happiness at 7.70 out of ten, while in the north-east people rated their general happiness level at 7.36 out of ten.

The national wellbeing survey was one of David Cameron’s policies when he became prime minister in 2010, with the aim to analyse the level of happiness in the UK.

Despite the capital’s high level of happiness, there remains a sense of dissatisfaction among Londoners, according to Annie Quick, the leader of inequality and wellbeing work at the New Economics Foundation.

She said: “There are real challenges about living in cities. Commuting is very bad for wellbeing: the long periods of time spent travelling to work are ... bad for our families, and bad for community cohesion.”

As a result of extreme inequality and poverty in London, as well as long commutes and very high living costs, sense of dissatisfaction is not surprising.

In contrast, Northern Ireland is different. The mayor of Mid and East Antrim Audrey Wales welcomed the survey, saying: “With a rich heritage and culture, our borough is a beautiful, welcoming and unique place with a huge offering for its citizens and visitors alike. What sets us apart is our strong community spirit and the diversity of our citizens.”

She also stated that good-quality housing and environment, stable jobs and functioning communities were key aspects to good overall wellbeing.

Happiness and a good mental wellbeing are vital aspects to remaining content and maintaining health, especially an individual's physical and mental wellbeing.

Sarah Stewart-Brown, professor of public health at the University of Warwick and a wellbeing expert, said: "Feeling happy is a part of mental wellbeing. Feelings of contentment, enjoyment, confidence and engagement with the world are all a part of mental wellbeing. Self-esteem and self-confidence are, too.”

There are many ways an individual can improve on their wellbeing, such as getting plenty of sleep every night, eating a healthy and balanced diet, staying physically and mentally active on a regular basis, making sure you are in an environment that brings you great joy and practising mindfulness.

By improving on wellbeing, an individual can feel healthier and much more content.