Whole Lotto Happiness

Tuesday October 28th 2008

If you want a whole lotto happiness, you need to work on getting yourself ten good friends. That’s the conclusion reached by new research carried out by the University of Nottingham at the request of The National Lottery.

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Dr Richard Tunney of the School of Psychology at the University of Nottingham surveyed 1,760 participants. He asked them questions about their friendships – how many they had, how often they got together, and so on, as well as questions about how happy they were.

Dr Tunney’s research found that people who have less than five friends only have a 40% chance of being happy. People who have between five and ten friends see their chances of being happy swell to 50%. And those who have more than ten friends have a 55% chance of being happy.

“Having a number of old, close friendships is related to individual happiness,” explained Dr Tunney. “People who were ‘extremely satisfied’ with their lives had twice the number of friends of people who were ‘extremely dissatisfied’.”

The study also look at how lottery winners compare with the rest of the general population in terms of their friendships. Dr Tunney found that lottery winners tended to have fewer new friends than other people, but that they tended to be happier. Dr Tunney speculated that this could be because lottery winners might focus more on maintaining existing friendships than on making new ones.

Whilst this research will come as no surprise to lottery winners who have already discovered that money alone doesn’t buy happiness, it offers encouragement to those of us who haven’t yet hit the right lottery results to win a major prize.

“In these uncertain economic times, it is important to remember just how greatly friends can contribute to your general well being and happiness,” Dr Tunney said. “Those who have genuine, true friends for life are rich in many more ways.”

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