Women have happier love lives than men, but men ‘happier in life’ overall, says surprising new study

It's battle of the sexes: optimism edition.

In a recent British study that's sure to raise a few eyebrows, Benenden Health, a U.K. healthcare service provider, found that British men are generally happier than women.

"It's interesting to see men are more likely to adopt a more upbeat view overall," says Paul Keenan from Benenden Health. "Although that particular finding is likely to be a debate that will rumble on and on

The study, which included interviews with 2,000 men and women, looked at 12 aspects of modern life that contribute to personal happiness. Each participant was asked whether their had a "cup half full" or "cup half empty" attitude toward life.

In seven of the categories, men rated happier than women: salary, career prospects, current body shape/ weight, appearance, how other people see you, your finances overall and job security.

However, women ranked above men in the other five categories: love life, family life, sex life, health, and living location.

Overall, the average adult surveyed ranked their current happiness at a healthy 64 per cent.

The greatest source of worry among those surveyed? Forty-six per cent of people were stressed about their finances.

Married people tended to be significantly happier than singles in almost every category, yet one third of the study participants admitted that they would be even more optimistic if their partner showed them more commitment.

Older people ranked as more optimistic than young people, with those over 55 most likely to rate themselves as eternal optimists, the Telegraph reports.

"Given the pessimistic economic outlook, the financial restraints everyone is under and the dark winter days that seem to drag on, it’s good to discover that deep down, there seems to be a positive and forward-looking attitude across Britain," says Keenan. "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."

''This doesn't detract from the fact many families have real difficulties and struggles to face in the current economic climate — but perhaps serves to demonstrate the British 'stiff upper lip' is alive and well in the 21st century.''

How would the adults surveyed boost their happiness levels? Lots of sunshine and cash.

"Sunny weather, an increased income and an improved diet were among the top five factors which participants said would make them feel more content," the Telegraph reports.

"Those interviewed said they would also be happier if they received more reassurance from their bosses and could spend more time with their children."

The Daily Mail reports that just £132 (CAD $206) extra a month would dramatically improve most people's happiness.

Benenden Health lists the top 10 things that increase British optimism:

  1. More sunny weather

  2. Just a couple of hundred pounds extra each month

  3. Less negative news items

  4. More affection from a partner

  5. Improving my diet

  6. Finding a job I like

  7. Finally shaking an illness/injury

  8. Reassurances from my boss

  9. More time spent with the kids

  10. My sports team performing better

"So there you have it: married men over 55 who live in sunny climates and have very affectionate wives have the best stab at happiness," writes Carmel Lobello for Death and Taxes.

"Sucks to be everyone else."

How would you rank your own happiness level?