As part of Coca-Cola GB's Choose Happiness campaign, a new European cultural study has been published which looks at the reasons why people are happy, and shows that UK adults could take inspiration from the next generation on how to be happier.

The findings challenge perceptions of young people, who are often portrayed as moody and obsessed with instant gratification, and reveals that Generation Z are actually leading the way in the pursuit of happiness. Young people from the UK rated their happiness at 6.2 on a scale of 1-10, in comparison to parents who rated theirs at 5.9.

Experts who carried out the study highlighted three ways that Generation Z is approaching happiness:

• Doing small, multiple and attainable things, rather than striving for big, singular and intimidating goals
• Allowing themselves to be spontaneously joyful and playful
• For young people, happiness is a social emotion, and being hyper-connected means happiness can be shared instantly and in real time

What makes us happy? View the infographic.

Dr Mark Williamson

Director of Action for Happiness

“This study shows that teens see happiness as important and within their control. Rather than deferring happiness to the future and associating it with big - and sometimes unachievable - goals, teens are good at living in the moment and appreciating the small everyday things. Their happiness comes less from what they consume or own - and more from their relationships with family and friends. And rather than being focused just on self-gratification, this research uncovers how teens love to be authentic, to contribute creatively and to push boundaries together in a collaborative way. It seems we could all learn a lot from this generation of teens".

Beth Reekles

Teen and young adult author and expert on the study

“The European cultural study challenges common misconceptions about my generation and shows that Generation Z are out there creating opportunities and taking responsibility for our own happiness. I hope the study’s findings encourage adults to take inspiration from young adults and appreciate that happiness can be an active choice that they can make in their lives, even if it's just the little moments of happiness in an average day. I recently made a decision to start owning up to the things that make me happy – no matter how small, weird or silly they seemed – and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made."