What drives your happiness and wellbeing?

Did you feel happier when you heard the news about Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaving hospital?

According to the findings from a new wellbeing app, we collectively experienced a “Boris bounce” to our happiness levels when the PM was discharged from hospital at the weekend.

The app collects a snapshot of people’s daily highs and lows during the coronavirus crisis, correlating this data with personal and national events to identify correlations.

The T-Cup app is designed to help users identify and learn from wellbeing and happiness triggers.

Some of the findings since the start of March include users recording their worst night’s sleep and highest stress levels when the Prime Minister was admitted to intensive care, on 5th April.

During the Easter holidays, health measures were recorded in decline, with diets showing increased alcohol and chocolate consumption. Diets have generally improved since the start of the lockdown.

The app found that, for women, stress levels noticeably increased on 18th March, when schools closed. But for men, school closures had minimal effect on their scores.

Men’s overall wellbeing scores declined when the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis became apparent when the government announced their package of financial support measures.

Women responded more positively than men to news of financial support.

The app was launched last year by a team of people with business, academic, public health and elite sport backgrounds. One of the app co-founders, former international rugby player Lee Mears, said:

“The COVID-19 events have had a major impact on us all. The T-Cup app has given us a window into the direct relationship between these events and people’s wellbeing and happiness, and the results are fascinating.

“For example, from 15th March onwards we saw a significant drop in all users’ happiness and success scores. But we found the picture was different for men compared to women, with women being particularly affected by the closure of schools, while men seemed to be more worried about the financial implications.

“And when the Prime Minister was admitted to intensive care it really seemed to bring home the seriousness of the situation and affect how people were feeling.”

There are some fascinating findings within the app data, recorded during the coronavirus crisis.

The data shows that, as the lockdown progressed, people had more time to focus on their diet and take more exercise. Improved diet and activity levels resulted in greater feelings of happiness and wellbeing, with an upward trend in health and success scores.

However, between 15th and 20th March, when shops and schools closed, people’s scores for happiness, wellbeing and success fell.

Health scores then rose between 20th March and the Easter weekend, despite rising alcohol consumption during this time.

Lee added: “Of course the real value in people being able to track their responses to stuff that’s outside their control is that they, and their employers if they’re in a corporate community, can learn from it. They can make the most of the things that work well for them, and work out ways of limiting the negative triggers, or how to manage them better.

“It’s fantastic to see that during this current situation they’re learning to make the most of the things they can control and making some real positive changes. I hope that will continue after this is all over.”

Do you keep a record of your happiness and wellbeing alongside diary entries?

This simple practice can help you identify the triggers for feelings of wellbeing, so you can be more intentional about how you spend your time and the activities you undertake.