What are the keys to happiness? Some people might be genetically dispositioned to be happier, while others’ happiness is based more on environmental factors. But do we have the power to be happy even when the cards we are dealt aren’t ideal? Our data, based on a survey of about 8000 respondents, shows that being active appears to be linked to happiness, even for those who experience a high level of stress.
Those who are happy & not stressed are the most active
We asked our users to tell us how happy and how stressed they felt over the past 24 hours.
When comparing the activity levels of respondents based on their answers, we found that the “happy and stressed” took 13% more steps daily than the “unhappy and stressed”, while the “happy and not stressed” were the most active, with 19% more steps.
Those who handle stress well are more active
While we don’t know what came first — a higher activity level or an increased ability to handle stress — we found that respondents who consider themselves able to handle stress well were 10% more active those who report that they handle stress poorly.
Those who report being happy despite a poor work environment are the most active
Respondents were asked to evaluate a number of statements regarding their work environment, including how valued they feel, how much autonomy they have, and the level of support they get. We then compiled these results into a work environment score.
It turns out that those who are happy & report a poor work environment are the most active, even more so than those who are happy & have a good work environment. They are also 19% more active than those who are unhappy & have a poor work environment, who log the least number of steps.
What can we conclude?
Our data shows that activity correlates positively with increased happiness and decreased stress. So as we all face challenges in our daily lives, getting our legs moving and our blood pumping each day might just help us stay a bit happier and a bit less stressed.
This study was conducted based on anonymous answers from 7,998 respondents to a wellbeing survey combined with data from the activity trackers of the respondents. Withings guarantees the confidentiality of personal data and protects the privacy of all its users. Therefore, all data used in this study is anonymized and aggregated.
Note: The respondents were categorized as follows: Happy: answered 6 or 7 on a 7-point scale (7 = extremely happy); Unhappy: answered 1 or 2 on a 7-point scale (1 = extremely unhappy); Not stressed: answered 6 or 7 on a 7-point scale (7 = no stress); Stressed: answered 1 or 2 on a 7-point scale (1 = extreme stress); Good work environment: got an average of 10 questions of > 3.5 on a 5-point scale; Poor work environment: got an average of 10 questions of < 2.5 on a 5-point scale. The activity level was the average number of steps of the day the respondents answered the questionnaire and of the day before.