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'New study reveals the power of small things to affect our everyday happiness'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A new study into the happiness of New Zealanders has unearthed some surprising results since Covid-19 impacted our lives, jobs and relationships.

The new Flybuys Happiness Study released today has found the challenging times since March have increased our happiness and helped us to focus on the small things that count.

Psychologist Susan Wall says this may seem counter-intuitive but is because many of us have had the chance to slow down, re-focus and appreciate the simple things that matter, including time with family and friends.

The research, which was carried out in January and repeated in May, revealed 72% of New Zealanders feel happy now, compared with 69% at the start of the year.

Susan said: "We all know the uncertainty and stress that Covid-19 brought, raising anxiety about our health and income, so it would be natural to assume this would affect our happiness. But, as the country banded together to fight the pandemic, we’ve benefited from closer connections with the people around us, even when we were physically isolated from them.

"Those who have been able to work from home have felt under less pressure and, as a nation, we’ve also shared a feeling of pride in joining together to eliminate the virus."

Post-lockdown, New Zealanders are placing greater value on time with family and friends, rewarding or treating themselves and living a simple life. In addition, some things we might have missed during lockdown have become more important to our everyday happiness, including travelling to new places, spending time in nature, and working with people who are enjoyable to be around. However, many of the 1,000 who took part in the May survey also said they were feeling happier working from home and having a better work life balance.

Compared to the average New Zealander, those living in Northland are more likely to say that spending time with family and living an active and healthy life is important to their happiness. On the other hand, Aucklanders place greater importance on having the job or career they want. Waikato residents are less likely to feel that money is important to their happiness.

The research is being released on the day Loyalty NZ launches the new Flybuys, which has a focus on adding everyday happiness to the lives of its 2.9 million members, by giving them an unprecedented level of choice about how they are rewarded.

Loyalty NZ CEO Lizzy Ryley said: "We’ve always believed that small things can have a meaningful impact on people’s happiness and our research supported that. New Zealanders have told us what makes them happy, including small treats, so that’s what we and our partners are giving them.

"We know that people are experiencing challenging times and we thought it might help a little if we provided some simple ways to add moments of happiness for them, their families and friends.

"Now more than ever, as a significant number of people grapple with lower incomes because of the impact of Covid-19, we can also support them with money off their shopping at New World and fuel at Z and Caltex.

"The vision behind the new Flybuys was to give members the freedom to choose whether they are rewarded with Flybuys Points, New World Dollars or fuel discounts from Z and Caltex. After all, our members know better than anyone what will be most helpful and, hopefully, bring them a little bit of everyday happiness."

The Flybuys Happiness Study also delved into how we are treating each other and found that businesses are showing more appreciation to their customers than they were earlier in the year. In January only 31% of people had been thanked by a business in the previous week, in May that was up to 46%. The thanks ranged from personal notes on purchases to verbal thanks for support during and after lockdown.

Lizzy added: "Our research found that a simple token of appreciation really matters and so part of our new Flybuys includes ways that businesses can say thank you to their customers with free offers. It’s great to know what a difference this can make to a person’s day."

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