Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Happiness Baseline

This morning the local radio personalities were talking about a guy who won $25,000 in the lottery two days in a row. They mentioned it because the host had read an article about a study that shows that the happiness spike of such a thing doesn't last, that after a period of time the person will go back to their baseline of happiness.

Well, duh.

The study also showed that if something terrible happens to you, you will also return to your happiness baseline.

Duh again. I mean, the phrase "time heals all wounds" didn't become a cliché because it was wrong.

We don't live in slices of time. So while winning money makes us happy in the sphere of influence of the win, other things in our lives are still occurring. We still have to feed the kids and drive them around and take out the trash and do endless amounts of laundry and dishes and struggle to either find or fit in those things that fulfill us beyond the day-to-day grind of living.

The part of the study I loved, though, was the part that found two specific things that can permanently elevate a person's happiness baseline.

One was adopting a pet. The other was marriage to someone they truly love.

If that's not validation of the entire romantic fiction industry, I don't know what is. :)

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