Quality time with loved ones brings South Africans the most joy - study

Respondents in a survey said spending time with loved ones made them happy.

Respondents in a survey said spending time with loved ones made them happy.

Published Mar 20, 2021


Spending time with close family and friends is the thing that brings the most joy to South Africans.

This is according to a recent survey conducted by the SA Rooibos Council (SARC) which looked at the top pursuits that bring South Africans the most happiness in 2021.

The survey was conducted among 700 people of various ages and backgrounds across the country. According to the poll, 65% of people said spending time with close friends and family brought them the most joy.

Surprisingly, in second place, 56% said their favourite pass-time was sipping a cup of tea.

This was followed by spending time in nature (53%), lending a helping hand to someone in need (39%), and a good night’s rest and laughing out loud tied at 29%.

Others cited exercise (23%), reading a good book (22%), spending time with a furry friend (20%) and indulging in a sweet treat (18%) as their happy place.

The results from the poll were released this week in the lead up to International Day of Happiness on Saturday to help boost public morale during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Respondents in a survey said spending time with loved ones made them happy. Picture: Zanele Zulu/African News Agency(ANA)

Adele du Toit, spokesperson for the SARC, said it was evident the disruption of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown have changed how people talk about and conceptualise happiness.

“In many ways the pandemic has forced us to take a step back and reconsider the value we place on the simpler, more meaningful things in life.”

For those who find contentment in a cup of tea, 84% claimed Rooibos tea as their “happy tea”.

Seven in 10 said drinking tea helped them to relax, while more than a third remarked it helped them to reflect and be happy in the moment. Du Toit said mindfulness and tea went hand-in-hand.

“For many, a morning or evening cup of tea is their form of meditation. It sets the tone for the day ahead or helps them to unwind after a stressful day.”

Tea meditations are an ancient practice, which have been used over millennia to achieve mindful appreciation.

Du Toit said: “After living through a pandemic for a year, where public health has been at the forefront of people’s minds, it comes as no surprise that the majority (96%) of respondents agreed that happiness has become more about well-being than pleasure-seeking.

Nine out of 10 said they could do with more comfort in 2021 with many admitting last year was tough on them mentally.

“2020 was one of the most difficult years many of us have had to face and in times of crisis, we turn to comfort and want to spend our time and energy on doing things which leave us feeling content and happy,” said Du Toit

“Tea ticks many of these boxes. Rooibos tea, being rich in antioxidants and possessing anti-inflammatory properties, is as good for the heart as it is for the soul. Aside from its inherent health benefits and great taste, drinking tea is also associated with feelings of warmth and comfort, which provides reassurance in difficult times – something we need now more than ever.”

According to the SA Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag), depression and anxiety have worsened during the pandemic with call volumes to its helpline having more than doubled in the last year. The SARC’s poll reflected the same, with only 29% of respondents claiming to be truly happy.

The Saturday Star

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