• Hugs top list of little things that lift winter gloom for Londoners

    October 25th 2013. Posted in Little Things Mean a Lot

    As the clocks go back this weekend and the nights draw in, we’re in increasing need of little things to lift our mood. An AXA study of 5,000 people in Great Britain reveals the ‘little things’ we rely on and who we turn to when we need a seasonal pick me up.


    • AXA reveals the top 10 little things to improve winter moods
    • Hugs are most popular ‘little thing that means a lot’ for those in the capital
    • Londoners rely on their ‘urban family’ over relatives
    • More Londoners would turn to tea than an alcoholic drink to lift a grey day

    Top of the list of little things that mean a lot for Londoners is a hug with 53 per cent of people saying it is their number one seasonal mood improver and four in five (80 per cent) stating that a hug would be an effective ‘pick me up’.


    Those in the capital typically appear to rely on their ‘urban family’ more so than any other region – seeing friends took second place in the shortlist of ‘little things that mean a lot’ and receiving a call or text from a friend came in at fifth, compared to seventh in the overall table for the overall results. Interestingly, receiving a call or text from a relative fell to the bottom of the list for London, rounding off the top ten in last place.



    AXA’s top ten little things that mean a lot to Londoners



    A hug


    Seeing friends


    Listening to music


    Watching a favourite TV programme


    Call or text from a friend


    Comfort food


    Spending one-on-one time with partner


    Having a walk in the fresh air


    Cup of tea


    Call and / or text from a relative


    Of the things that didn’t make the top ten for London, alcohol comes in at 11th place – two places higher than in the Great Britain top 20. The traditional hot bath takes 13th place and, despite being known to physiologically improve well-being, exercise is down in 17th place in the study.


    Commenting on the research, psychologist Donna Dawson, said:

    “Little things mean a lot in life, and many of them are free: walking outdoors or listening to our favourite music both work by calming us through using our senses of sight, sound, smell and taste. And heightening our senses can, in turn, lift our spirits, especially on those dark miserable days of winter.


    “As ‘touch’ is the most powerful sense of them all, this explains why a hug is the number one ‘mood changer’. When the skin is rubbed, it produces hormones and enzymes that boost the immune system and increase feelings of well-being. Women’s brains are naturally more ‘wired’ to be receptive to touch - which is why they find hugging easier to do than men!”


    The study also examined the differences in the little things that make Londoners feel better compared to the rest of Great Britain. Half of those questioned (50 per cent) would turn to a cup of tea whereas over two fifths (45 per cent) would reach for an alcoholic beverage as a pick me up. Seventy-Seven per cent stated that listening to their favourite music would be a very effective ‘little thing that means a lot’ – higher than any other region in England, Wales or Scotland.


     Despite the capital being home to a number of successful teams across many sports, watching or playing sport is very unlikely to improve a Londoner’s mood. Only 28 per cent of those questioned would class watching their favourite team play as an effective way of improving a bad day and over a third (34 per cent) would feel the same about playing sport themselves.


    Commenting on the research, Chris Jones, AXA Head of Brand, said:

    “We know it’s the little things that mean a lot to people – we often make assumptions that grand gestures are how we cheer each other up but this shows that everyday little things are what really make the difference. That is something that we remember not only in our personal life, but as part of the ethos of the work we do at AXA, looking to make a difference to our customers wherever we can.”


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    Notes for Editors 

    About the research


    All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 5,017 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 3rd - 9th October 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

    Legal Notes 

    About AXA

    The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management, with 161,000 employees serving 103 million clients in 59 countries. In 2015, IFRS revenues amounted to Euro 99.0 billion and IFRS underlying earnings to Euro 5.6 billion. AXA had Euro 1,363 billion assets under management as of December 31, 2015. In 2015 Interbrand ranked AXA the 1st insurance brand worldwide for the 7th consecutive year.

    In the UK AXA operates through a number of business units including: AXA Wealth, AXA Insurance, AXA PPP healthcare, AXA Ireland and an independent distribution business Bluefin. AXA employs over 10,500 staff in the UK.

    The AXA ordinary share is listed on compartment A of Euronext Paris under the ticker symbol CS (ISN FR 0000120628 – Bloomberg: CS FP – Reuters: AXAF.PA). AXA’s American Depository Share is also quoted on the OTC QX platform under the ticker symbol AXAHY.

    The AXA Group is included in the main international SRI indexes, such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4GOOD.

    It is a founding member of the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance and a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.