A recent survey commissioned by BUPA, the international healthcare group, asked a representative group of 2000 people living in Britain to name the things that made them "feel great". In a refreshing change from our seemingly increasing dependence on electronic gadgetry and gizmos, the list of the top 50 things that was produced as a result, seemed to highlight that the more mundane and simple (emotional) pleasures still have a key part to play in people's enjoyment of life itself. In fact many of the things that made people happy had no tangible financial value at all, such as 'doing something for others' at number nine or 'the clean feeling after a shower' at number ten.

Top of the list was 'sleeping in a freshly made bed'.

Delving deeper into the list, there may have been some slight concern at the motivation behind the things that came into people's minds, with a clear preference for 'taking' rather than 'giving' being prevalent at the very top.

With politicians often talking about wanting to make the population feel happier about things in general, it would be interesting to see how they might be able to engender the creation of the simpler pleasures in life that made the list (if at all), when considering their own political manifestos in future. In truth, it may be a little too close to the upcoming general election for such ideas to be considered immediately.

They may envisage that making people feel richer in their pockets could create the situations by which the emotional (feel good) factors can result, with some of the lesser ranked things on the list falling into that category. Those included 'the smell of a new car' (34th) and 'the smell of a fine wine' (37th).

The top five things on the list were (with the percentage of sample respondents for each):

  • Sleeping in a freshly made bed (62%)

  • Feeling the sun on your face (57%)

  • People saying 'thank you' or a random act of kindness from a stranger (53%)

  • Finding money in unexpected places (52%)

  • Having time to yourself (48%)