A close-knit family, laughter and a good cup of tea are among the secrets to happiness.
Regular exercise, being kind to strangers and singing in the shower also feature as the ingredients for a cheerful existence.
Getting ‘enough’ sleep also helps make life more enjoyable as well as going on holiday at least once a year and indulging in the occasional tipple.
The study of 2,000 adults, commissioned by Bupa Care Homes, found regularly catching up with loved ones and getting involved in the local community are also important.
The research was carried out to celebrate Silver Sunday, a nationwide event taking place on Sunday (October 6), to help tackle loneliness by bringing different generations together.
Joan Elliott, managing director for Bupa Care Homes, said: “Through this research we wanted to give people a chance to pause and think about what really makes them smile.
“It’s interesting to see that our friends, family and wider community all play a key role in our happiness.
“We know it can be hard to maintain these bonds though, especially for older people, which is why we’re holding public events across the country to help people celebrate Silver Sunday.”
The study also saw spending time with the kids, having a pet and dancing feature in the top 40 secrets to happiness.
Being able to forgive others and being able to forgive yourself for your own mistakes both made the cut too.
And so did cooking or baking, being able to laugh at yourself and having a hobby.
It also emerged 83 per cent consider having a good relationship with family and friends to be ‘vital’ in order to lead a contented existence.
But sadly, six in 10 struggle to see their family as often as they would like.
In fact, a quarter only manage to catch up with them once every six months or less.
Family aside, human interaction is key to happiness too – almost half said having the chance to meet new people is ‘important’.
Further to this, almost three quarters said being part of a supportive community has played a significant role in their overall happiness.
However, more than half of those polled wish they were more involved in their community than they are currently.
The Bupa study carried out through OnePoll also found a whopping 86 per cent are happy with their lot in life.
And 60 per cent believe money really DOESN’T buy you happiness, although financial security did make the top 40.
Joan Elliott added: “Silver Sunday is about making time for one another and bringing people together, especially those who might otherwise struggle to meet new people.
“It’s a chance to make new friends and catch up with familiar faces, and everyone’s welcome to join.”
This Sunday (October 6) more than 80 Bupa homes will open their doors, hosting activities including roast dinners and pub quizzes, tea dances and Mad Hatter’s tea parties.
To see the homes which are participating visit the Silver Sunday page on the Bupa website .
TOP 40 – SECRETS TO HAPPINESS
2. Having a good relationship with your family
3. Being fit and healthy
4. Getting enough sleep
5. Seeing your loved ones regularly
6. Financial security
7. Having a partner
8. Getting regular exercise
9. Being able to laugh at yourself
10. Making others happy
11. Eating healthily
12. Being able to forgive yourself for your own mistakes
13. Being polite
14. Having a close friendship group
15. Having a hobby
16. Going on holiday at least once a year
17. Being able to forgive others
18. Falling in love at least once
19. Having a pet
20. Being kind to strangers
21. Travelling the world and experiencing other cultures
22. Spending time with the kids
23. Living close to your family
24. A good cup of tea
25. Being a regular reader
26. Feeling like part of a community
27. An occasional tipple
28. Saying hello/good morning/good afternoon etc to strangers
29. Getting your five fruit and vegetables a day
30. Knowing your neighbours
32. Having a successful job
33. Indulging yourself in snacks/sweet treats
34. Singing in the car/kitchen/shower
35. Doing charitable work
36. A busy social life
38. Mum’s cooking
39. Calling home once a week
40. Painting or drawing