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Dublin: 9 °C Monday 21 April, 2014

Sea + sun = happiness: science

Innovative study which maps emotional states through smartphone app links being near sea on sunny day with ultimate happiness.

Image: seaside image via Shutterstock

A STUDY WHICH required participants to chronicle their emotional state on their smartphones at regular points in the day has found that spending time by the sea is key to happiness.

A team from the London School of Economics and Political Science studied the responses from 22,000 people who uploaded their information to an app especially designed for the study. The app – Mappiness – reminded users to log their emotional states at points of the day. Their location was also recorded and cross-posted. One million responses were used in the study.

The conclusion of all that logging?

Being outdoors, near the sea, on a warm, sunny weekend afternoon is the perfect spot for most. In fact, participants were found to be substantially happier outdoors in all natural environments than they were in urban environments.

Dr George MacKerron, from University of Sussex, who undertook the study in conjunction with the LSE, said:

People recorded the highest levels of happiness in marine and coastal locations, followed by mountains and moors, forests and farms.

Being active in an outdoor setting, or even just birdwatching, raised happiness levels. Women, and the older population in general, experience the highest level of satisfaction from being outdoors.

The study, published in the Global Environmental Change journal, says that it provides “a new line of evidence on links between nature and wellbeing”.

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