Do people in our part of the county smile less often than their fellow countrymen and women?
Well, yes, according to the results of a Government survey aimed at measuring the happiness of the nation.
The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, record people’s happiness on a scale of one to 10 after they were asked how happy they felt the day before the survey was carried out.
England had an overall happiness level of 7.28, where 10 would be the most happy possible. In comparison Corby’s happiness was 6.86, Kettering’s was 7.14, Wellingborough’s was 6.98 and East Northamptonshire’s was 7.18 – placing us just below the national average.
Desborough man Alan Window, who won a competition organised by the Orlando tourist board in 2010 when judges were dazzled by his positive outlook and winning smile, said he didn’t think we were any less happy than average.
He added: “I think the key to being happy is being satisfied with what you have got.
“People get unhappy because they don’t think their car is good enough, or because they don’t have the latest mobile phone.
“But in many cases they probably do have a working car they can get around in and they have a mobile phone they could call their friends on – so it’s all about looking on the bright side of what you have and not spending time worrying about things you would like which you probably don’t really need.”
Mr Window said, like most people, he has the occasional bad day. He added: “My trick is to try and put it behind me, forget about it by doing something I like. I’m a big Doctor Who fan, so I might watch an episode of that, for example.”
The survey, which was conducted between April 2012 and March 2013, also recorded other aspects of life, such as anxiety and life satisfaction.
As well as being less happy, the survey revealed that people in our area were slightly more anxious than the national average.
People in Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough were also less satisfied with their lives, according to the survey – although people living in East Northamptonshire scored above average in that particular section.
Help is available for people suffering from anxiety, from Kettering Mind, for example, which works with people suffering from mental health issues, and there is even a Laughter and Wellbeing adult learning course available at Kettering’s Buccleuch Academy.
According to the survey, the least happy place in England was Harlow in Essex, at 6.54. The most happy was Hart in Hampshire, at 8.04.