There was a study. I read it on the Google and I simply can’t Google another thing so I am not going to find the link.
But it went something like this. They gave a lot of people pager-like things and then would randomly beep them. At that moment, the beepee would mark down what they were doing and how happy they were on a scale. After a year, this was all tallied up.
The happiest people were those having sex.
The second happiest were those who were walking and talking with friends.
Then, talking with friends.
The list went on and on.
At the bottom were things like domestic arguments, parking tickets, doctor visits, etc.
Not many surprises. But like most things in life, it is the number two position that can be harnessed to one’s advantage and indulged in regularly with not too much fear of someone taking it away from you: walking with friends. (And since the number one position cannot be indulged in for hours and days at a time, en principe, it cannot be chosen as frequently and is therefore useful in the extreme but not in the quotidian.)
I was with my friend, Todd, today walking and talking in the park. He posted a pic of us on FB. I got to talking about this study I remembered because it was such a nice day and walking and talking with a friend was proving to be, as usual, an enormous mood elevator.
And then I thought this—It’s just because we are monkeys on the plains with our bro’ monkeys, looking around for prospects. It just feels normal. This action reduces stress and elevates humor.
So much of what makes us happy is simple animal behavior. Being a simple animal is difficult for religionists and intellectuals to stomach. The middle class gets to it, at times, but it can often lack grace.
You know it when you feel it. Sometimes people will eat entire bags of red vines or scream at others all day long in search of altering their brain chemistry into joy.
Being a calm animal on the move, balanced with other safe calm animals, in nature, makes mortality seem less horrific, with the sunlight and trees allowing you to know it’s all forever.