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Do you want to know the secret of happiness? Just take a trip down to Fermanagh and Omagh

Fermanagh and Omagh rated the happiest places to live in the UK

By Lesley Houston

Published 24/09/2015

The key to happiness is living a relaxed lifestyle and opting for personal, face-to-face contact with family and friends instead of texting, according to people living in the happiest place in all the UK
The key to happiness is living a relaxed lifestyle and opting for personal, face-to-face contact with family and friends instead of texting, according to people living in the happiest place in all the UK

The key to happiness is living a relaxed lifestyle and opting for personal, face-to-face contact with family and friends instead of texting, according to people living in the happiest place in all the UK.

It's also about being surrounded by the beauty of nature and having a positive mental attitude, according to residents of Fermanagh and Omagh, who rated their areas as the happiest to live, not just in Northern Ireland but across the UK.

The revelation was contained in Prime Minister David Cameron's so-called new happiness index, which assessed regions on general life satisfaction, the value they put in the routines of daily life and feelings of anxiety.

The Office for National Statistics survey, 'Personal Well-being in the UK, 2014/15', found that, only in anxiety levels, Northern Ireland had higher levels compared to England, Scotland and Wales.

Surprisingly, residents of the traditionally affluent North Down and Ards rated themselves the least happy in Northern Ireland with a score of 7.32.

That came just below Belfast, which scored 7.35 on the happiness register.

Wales was the most miserable of the four nations, recording a score of 7.44.

Overall, the index showed people were happier compared to four years ago, but revealed that the gap between the happy and unhappy had grown since 2011.

Alongside Wales, families in Dundee, Lincolnshire and Glasgow are also among the most unhappy.

Scotland's Outer Hebrides and Orkney Islands are the happiest places to live outside of Northern Ireland.

Ulster Unionist Assembly member Tom Elliott, whose constituency covers both contented regions of Fermanagh and South Tyrone, said the findings came as "no surprise".

"Life is still much more relaxed here," he said, especially compared to the cut and thrust of London, which he said was "a world of difference".

"People still call into each other's homes for a chat and don't just text, they communicate face to face," he said, although he pointed out that modern technology did still play an important role in people's lives.

He said both Fermanagh and Tyrone had similar idyllic terrains.

"There are a lot of similarities between the areas and by and large there are a lot of similarities in their nature," he added.

"These figures really epitomise the people of Fermanagh and Omagh."

Fermanagh-bred Finance Minister Arlene Foster welcomed the findings, highlighting economic stability as a major factor.

She said the secret to happiness was partly due to the picturesque scenery within the lush, green county where she was raised, as well as strong family ties.

"I believe the people of Fermanagh are the happiest in the UK because we live in a very beautiful, natural environment and we appreciate the good things in life such as family and friendships; we take time with each other."

She added: "Our glass is always half full, and definitely not half empty!"

Sliding scale of satisfaction

Fermanagh and Omagh 8.26

Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon 8.04

Mid and East Antrim 8.03

Antrim and Newtownabbey 7.99

Causeway Coast and Glens 7.92

Mid Ulster 7.91

Newry, Mourne and Down 7.84

Lisburn and Castlereagh 7.69

Derry and Strabane 7.48

Belfast 7.35

North Down and Ards 7.32

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