Olympics 'made us all happier'
The "once-in-a-lifetime" 2012 Olympics and Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations are thought to have helped boost happiness in the UK, according to new research.
Latest findings from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) annual population survey - the so-called "happiness index" - have found small improvements in personal well-being in the UK over the last year.
The percentage of people reporting higher levels of life satisfaction, feeling that the things they do in life are worthwhile, and happiness rose between 2011/12 and 2012/13 while the percentage reporting higher levels of anxiety fell.
Over the last year the proportion of people rating their life satisfaction as seven or more out of 10 rose from 75.9% to 77%, the study of 165,000 people in residential households aged 16 years and over found.
There was also a reduction in the proportion of people rating their anxiety at a higher level of six or more out of 10, falling from 21.8% to 20.9%.
Factors influencing personal well-being are complex and will differ from person to person, the ONS said.
But it said a fall in unemployment in 2012 with rising levels of job vacancies, the Olympics and Paralympics in London and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee might have played a part in raising the nation's spirits.
"The period of 2012/13 also included several special events in the UK, such as the Queen's Diamond Jubilee (in June 2012) which included a special bank holiday and the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic games (July to early September 2012)," it said.
"These events could also have potentially influenced people's assessment of their personal well-being in the 2012/13 period."
Separate European quality of life research has shown life satisfaction in the UK was the same in 2011 as in 2007 in spite of a fall in 2008 as a result of the financial crisis, the ONS said. The UK stood tenth in a league of 27 EU countries in 2011 for life satisfaction and appears to have held up much better for life satisfaction throughout the recession than it has for other European countries.