Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Happiness continued

Happiness, some believe, spreads in social networks.

Researchers claim that happiness spreads from person to person as you move away from the source. Being close to happy people makes you happy. Thus if you have a friend who in turn has a friend that is happy, you will in turn be 6% happier. Accordingly your happiness will increase by 34% if you have a happy neighbour, by 14% if you have a brother/sister living less than a mile away, by 25% if this is a friend. On the other hand a $5,000 raise in pay (yes we're in the US) will contribute only 2% increase.

Rings true for me: how about you? I love the precise percentage figures but then it is the result of an average - it doesn't tell you the precise scatter. Fancy measuring happiness by percentages anyway! This data is from a very highly regarded organisation:

This research is carried out by The Framingham Heart Study. Wikipedia tells us that it is a long-term, ongoing cardiovascular study on residents of the town of Framingham, Massachusetts. The study began in 1948 with 5,209 adult subjects from Framingham, and is now on its third generation of participants.[1]

If this is true there will be some parts of Ulverston that will be 'happy' to live in. James Lovelock's happiness could spread to me and then on to those that live around me. This will happen when we have regular personal contact through chat. This, when we give each other regular 'strokes'that tell others how much we like each other, is best done through direct contact and can't work remotely through the Internet. Personal contact transmits positive emotions so effectively. We bask in other people's warmth.

Having each others art around us where we express our creative individuality is so important. We do it inside our houses with the pictures we put on our walls and with the way we furnish our rooms, the colours and materials we use. In some areas of the town this spreads outside into our streets and neighbourhood. In some areas of the town we have pottery on our fences and walls. It gives us a small 'lift' each time we see it. Even the 'vandals' enjoy it and value it - it remains untouched. We enjoy going to these parts of town.

Yes, happiness travels by personal contact. We have it here in Ulverston. Let's spread it as much as we can - by direct personal contact (and perhaps ditch Facebook - many of my friends have!).

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