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August 3, 2009 | by  | in News |
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Wellingtonians a buncha sad sacks

A survey released by UMR Research has shown that Wellington has the lowest levels of happiness in New Zealand, with many students at Victoria sharing the load.

Of the 15,000 people sampled nationwide, Wellingtonians were reportedly less happy this year than the last.

The survey said that essential factors contributing to happiness include relationships with friends and family, and their jobs. These factors differ for men and women, with women requiring stronger relationships with their spouse and children than men. Men, on the other hand, look to control over their destiny, recreation time and hobbies as well.

Psychology postgraduate student Chris McKoy said that student happiness had dissipated in recent times due to current economic hardships.

“Constantly increasing university fees and ever higher living costs challenge one’s ability to be happy at Victoria,” McKoy said.

McKoy also acknowledges that happiness is a relative concept.

“The education process at Victoria should never try to define who students become, rather it is the students who should define the university,” Mckoy said.

Other students recognised the importance of relationships as a contributing factor to university happiness.

“The only opportunities to get to know other students are really for the students who stay in halls and first years. I think students from Wellington miss out a lot on that,” one student said.

Victoria University’s Counselling Service said that self care was key when times were hard, recognising that all students go through hard times at different points in their lives.

“Healthcare professionals agree that self care is the first port of call in difficult times. We can increase our stress tolerance and resilience by maintaining a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition, regular exercise, sleep, rest and relaxation as well as socialising,” the service said.

UMR Director Tim Grafton said in most circumstances, happiness and money did not go hand-in-hand.

“Those on less than $15,000 a year are slightly happier than those on more than $70,000. However, the least happy are those on middle incomes between $30,000-$50,000”, Grafton said.

Other factors contributing to happiness include social activity, amount of time spent outdoors, self-image, and interest in sports or the arts.

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