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How to be happy in London, according to a new study

James Manning

Hey, you! Why so tense? Is it the struggle to pay £900 a month for a shoebox? The daily lucha libre for a seat on the tube? The fact that a pub in Borough Market is charging £13.40 for a pint of IPA and some people are actually buying it, or the knowledge that you’re having an hour shaved off your life each day by the toxic air? Whatever the reason, you’re not alone: according to a new study, London is officially the most anxious city in the UK.

Sainsbury’s, the National Centre for Social Research and Oxford Economics joined forces to ask a representative sample of Brits about their quality of life – and the capital is anxiety central, with huge swathes of the city stressing about jobs, personal problems and the future.

However, the most interesting bit of the study is when it reveals what makes the biggest difference to quality of life. If you want to feel better about the living hell that London life can just occasionally be, here are five ways to start.

1. Get some damn sleep

The thing that makes us happiest of all is feeling well rested, according to the survey. But most of the time only a quarter of us do, making us the most sleep-deprived city in the UK. Try booking a night in one of London’s spa hotels for some sweet dreams.

2. Get laid

Just one in three of us is happy with the quality of our sex life. If you’re one of the other two, get on Tinder, stat: better sex makes Londoners (and, we’re guessing, most people) happier. And tune up your sex life with our guide to adult London.

3. Quit your job

Londoners have worse job security than the rest of the country has, and it’s getting us down. But one in three Londoners hates their job anyway. Solution: chuck it all in and move to rural Scotland. Can’t sack a hermit, right?

4. Talk to your neighbours

More than half of us don’t speak to the bods next door more than twice a month. In Wales, more than half of people chat to their neighbours once a week (crazy but true). Go knock on some doors. You might just end up ticking off point 2 as well. (Here’s what happened when we asked five Londoners to make friends with their neighbours.)

5. Get the hell outside

Never mind that toxic air: 40 percent of London is green space, so go and find some. A quarter of us spend only a day a month outside. Get out and feel the wind in your hair – and I don’t mean the grimy breeze at the front of a tube carriage. Here are the best parks and green spaces in London.

And for a quick-but-temporary fix to the big city blues, here are London’s best bars and pubs.


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