An alarming 91% of Singaporeans felt that they're not sufficiently adopting all eight ingredients for living healthier, longer, better lives, revealed a new study by AIA Group

In fact, only 16% of the Singaporeans surveyed rated themselves as adopting seven or eight of the ingredients (significantly below the APAC average of 22%), placing the island nation as the second-lowest, only ahead of Hong Kong. 

About 40% of Singaporeans said they were achieving four or more ingredients (below the regional average of 47%). While 60% said they were achieving three or fewer of the key ingredients.

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So what are these eight ingredients? 

According to the Pan-Asian life and health insurer, the eight key ingredients were (in no particular order of importance): 

  1. Having an optimistic outlook: Looking for the positive things in everyday situations, not letting negative events of the past affect the present and finding enjoyment in work.
  2. Being active and engaged: Being an active member of your wider community, remain socially active with friends and family, and remain physically and mentally active.
  3. Self-motivating: Focusing on your own personal goals, look for ways to make work/tasks/chores more engaging, and see setbacks as learning opportunities.
  4. Understanding yourself and your emotions: Understand what motivates you in life, understand what is important to you in life, and understand your limits/strengths/weaknesses.
  5. Feeling a sense of independence: Feeling confident identifying what is right for you, focus time and energy on things you can control, and be capable of improving your mental health.
  6. Maintaining quality relationships: Focusing on giving people your full attention, be open and honest with others, and seek out like-minded people who share similar interests.
  7. Never stop learning or exploring: Exploring new ideas and engage with new things, challenge your own thinking, and be open to change.
  8. Making time to recharge: Creating clear boundaries between work and personal time and find ways to recharge your energy levels.

To distil these ingredients, the study conducted by Kantar Group, involved in-depth interviews with more than 80 experts from a broad spectrum of professional disciplines in Singapore and across Asia-Pacific. The findings were then validated through a survey of 6,000 consumers in APAC, including 500 people in Singapore. 

Digging deeper into the findings, AIA's analysis of the market found the power of optimism was the strongest ingredient for a healthier, longer, better life. Thankfully, Singaporeans do recognise this, indicating “having an optimistic outlook” as the most important ingredient in leading a healthier, longer, better life.

Although optimism is the strongest ingredient across the region, a pathway to improved health and wellness and one that is the easiest first step for Singaporeans to take is “being active and engaged”. This was also highlighted as the greatest opportunity for Singaporeans, given that only 25% have achieved this ingredient, despite identifying it as the third-most important ingredient in driving better life outcomes.

Other key findings for Singapore included: 

  • The group of “high performers” in living healthier, longer, better lives reported that COVID-19 had less of a negative impact on their health and wellness efforts.
  • “Being active and engaged” in life takes into account physical, mental, social, and financial health facets. In Singapore, however, being physically active is seen as more important than mentally active. Whereas for most other markets, being active and engaged mentally is either more important or on par with being active and engaged physically.
  • Saving money is the number one activity people in the region do for their financial wellbeing. Singaporeans ranked the highest in terms of choosing to 'save money' for better financial health, instead of other aspects like 'investing' or 'reading/learning about finances'.
  • Under the “Never Stop Learning and Exploring” ingredient, the top two actions that helped people in Singapore prioritise continuous learning and exploration are 'read to learn new things' and 'spend time learning new skills’. However, the frequency of people in Singapore actually engaging sufficiently to achieve this is slightly lower than the regional average.
  • By far the most important ingredient across all markets was “having an optimistic outlook”, which was 2.3 times more common amongst the group of people that scored highest on the survey. In Singapore, the top actions to improve optimism were to ‘take time to reflect on the things that bring me joy’ and ‘take time to reflect on things that I am thankful for’.

Photo / AIA