I Think, Therefore I'm Happy? A New Study Encourages You To Go Deep
YouJustGetMe users on the whole are the sort of people who like to see beneath the surface of people and the world. However, does this make us a happier bunch - or more depressed by the things we find when we go into the depths?
The study "Eavesdropping on Happiness", published in the February 2010 issue of Psychological Science, does something that few other studies have tried to do - look practically at the day-to-day behaviors of happy people to see what their lives look like. Researchers Mehl, Vazire, Holleran, and Clark of the University of Arizona ask "Is the happy life characterized by shallow, happy-go-lucky moments and trivial small talk, or by reflection and profound social encounters?"
What Dr. Mehl and his team found that people who had more substantive conversations - people who picked apart subjects, looked deeply into meaning and implication, and attempted to place their topics of discussion in context with a larger world - were happier than those who did not regularly engage in meaningful discourse. It directly opposes the concept that ignorance is bliss, or that unhappy people are somehow smarter or deeper than those who are happy. "We found this [study] so interesting, because it could have gone the other way -- it could have been, 'Don't worry, be happy' -- as long as you surf on the shallow level of life you're happy, and if you go into the existential depths you'll be unhappy," Dr. Mehl was quoted in a recent interview with the New York Times.
Dr. Mehl, demonstrating more practical-mindedness than many of his colleagues, wonders if people can increase their level of happiness by challenging themselves to engage in more substantive conversations during their day. "It's not that easy, like taking a pill once a day," Dr. Mehl said. "But this has always intrigued me. Can we make people happier by asking them, for the next five days, to have one extra substantive conversation every day?"
Anyone else planning to try?
Painting "Deep Conversation" by Ed Martinez
TrackBack URL: http://blogs.psychsterdata.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/76