The art to a long and happy life includes gossip, getting plenty of sun and not working in an office, according to older Brits.
Those aged 55 plus also believe getting at least eight hours sleep, living somewhere rural and having a loving partner helps too.
Painting and drawing, seeing lots of the world and a small act of kindness every single day can also lead to a prolonged and contented existence.
Commissioned by Bupa UK to mark Care Home Open Day which takes place on 28 June, the research of 2,000 adults aged 55 plus also found they first began to realise the secret to a happy life aged 49.
Joan Elliott, Managing Director, Bupa UK Care Services said: “We will all have our own theories on what makes for a happy and fulfilled life but it’s fascinating to get the insights of the older generation slightly more experienced people.
“Overall there are a number of themes within our top 50 secrets to a long and happy life namely love, friendship, creativity, eating well and being outside.
“Creativity appears to be especially important and perhaps this is because it stimulates the mind and allows us to express ourselves and release any frustrations.”
Laughing an average of eight times a day also leads to a long and happy life, according to those polled.
Reading every day is recommended too - and so is taking care of your appearance and owning a pet.
Getting your five a day also has a positive effect - as does listening to music every day and working with people you get on with.
Going on a big holiday ever year is believed to make a difference as well, along with enjoying chocolate and cake in moderation, and doing things for charity.
Half of over 55s wish they had more time to do the things which make them happy – such as hobbies and spending time with family.
Those polled have an average of two hobbies on the go and they dedicate more than 369 hours a year to them – the equivalent of 15 days in total.
Carried out through OnePoll, the Bupa UK research also found those polled think creativity is key to being happy – something 35 per cent wish they had more time for.
And being happy is ‘vital’ to our physical and mental wellbeing - nine in 10 believe happiness improves our overall health levels.
Of those polled, 37 per cent said they are happier now than they ever have been.
Joan Elliott, Managing Director, Bupa Care Services added: “It’s fantastic to see so many respondents are happy with their lives – most people might think we’re happiest when we are younger
“But the research shows there is much to look forward to as we grow older - having more time to pursue hobbies is just one thing to be excited about.
"In our care homes, we make sure our residents have a variety of activities they can enjoy to ensure they are living fulfilled lives - this varies from gardening to arts and crafts. This Care Home Open Day, I want to encourage people of all ages to visit our homes and join in with the activities we are putting on.”
Top 50 – secrets to a long and happy life
- A loving partner
- Being close to family
- Laughing every day
- Doing regular exercise
- Getting out and enjoying nature
- Getting eight hours a sleep
- Owning a pet
- Having enough money to do what you want
- Having a job you love
- Playing with your kids / grandkids
- Having a hobby
- Having at least one really close friend
- Getting your five a day
- Living in the countryside
- A small act of kindness every day
- Reading every day
- Having lots of friends
- Having a good sex life
- Having breakfast every day
- Going on lots of little holidays
- Listening to music every day
- The Mediterranean diet
- Seeing lots of the world
- Looking after your appearance
- Working with people you get along with
- Making sure you get enough sun
- Having treats like chocolate and cake in moderation
- Avoiding alcohol
- Going on a big holiday ever year
- Doing a crossword or Sudoku every day
- Doing puzzles
- Watching your favourite TV shows
- Getting up early
- Cooking every day
- Relaxing with yoga or meditation
- Eating whatever you want
- Having a lie in at least once a week
- Getting involved in the local community
- Doing things for charity
- Staying single
- Going to events like concerts or sporting events
- Going to the beach as much as possible
- Being crafty, like knitting or crochet
- Not working in an office
- Giving someone else a compliment every day
- Having a good gossip
- Taking/looking at photos every day
- Painting or drawing
- Getting a compliment from someone else every day
- Playing music every day