Feeling unhappy? Try being fitter, more active in your community and politically, further right-wing.

A UMR Research survey, What makes New Zealanders happy, found those who are "very satisfied" with their work/life balance and achievements in life are involved in their community, satisfied with their physical fitness and politically on the "firm right".

The poll of 750 New Zealanders aged over 18 in December last year, revealed a quarter think they're "more good looking than average". Although being attractive did not translate to being happier than those who consider themselves to be average looking.

But, the 10 per cent who felt they were "less good looking than average" were generally less happy than everyone else.


Despite the result of last year's general election, 44 per cent of Kiwis consider themselves to be politically left-wing, compared to 35 per cent who align themselves with the right of the political spectrum.

Perhaps because of the National Party's trouncing of Labour in November, right-wingers are more likely to be happy than their political opposites.

Those who enjoy their job, feel they have a lot of choices in life, have excellent control over their lives, know their neighbours well and are satisfied with their weight are also happier.

UMR Research director Gavin White said improving work\life balance was one of the best ways to be happier.

"The fact that work/life balance is one of the key drivers of happiness fits with the first Happiness report, which showed that retired people were particularly likely to be happy," he said.

"Although two thirds of us say that we enjoy our jobs, one of the best ways to make New Zealanders happy could well be improving their work/life balance."