Sunday, November 25, 2012

Is Everybody Happy?

Ted Lewis was a popular American bandleader from the 1920s through the 1940s whose catchphrase was "Is everybody happy?"

Too bad he didn't have the benefit of modern scientific study to help answer the question.

According to a landmark study conducted by intrepid researchers at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, people prefer having sex and getting drunk to doing housework and commuting to work.

Who knew?

The study used text message survey techniques to have participants rank 30 activities on three criteria: whether it brought them pleasure, how engaged they were with the activity and whether it brought them overall happiness. The results indicated that partying and drinking alcohol placed second overall, followed by religious activities and playing with children. Paid work (that is, having a job) was in 24th place, just ahead of going to class but well behind the 21st-place showing of personal grooming. Having sex took first place in all categories.

Now, there are some obvious shortcomings with this survey, not the least of which is that it relied on text messaging for data collection, thereby limiting the sampled group to tech-savvy, probably younger people. Nevertheless, the results are interesting.

In case you don't want to read the entire article, here are the top ten activities that the study indicated brought the most happiness:

1. Making Love/Having Sex.

2. Drinking Alcohol/Partying.

3. Care-giving/Volunteering.

4. Meditating/Religious Activities.

5. Childcare/Playing with Children.

6. Listening to Music/Podcasts.

7. Socializing/Talking/Chatting.

8. Hobbies/Arts and Crafts.

9. Shopping/Running Errands.

10. Gaming/Playing Video Games.

And the bottom ten happiness-bringing activities ...

21. Washing/Dressing/Grooming.

22. Internet/On Computer.

23. Commuting/Travelling.

24. Paid Work.

25. Lectures/Class/Lab.

26. Texting/E-mailing (interesting placement, given how the data for this survey was collected).

27. Studying/Working on Education.

28. Housework/Chores.

29. Facebook.

30. Sick/Healthcare.

So what does all this mean to you, Dear Readers?

You can help balance things out by combining sex with other, less happiness-enhancing activities to raise the overall happiness average of your life. For instance, when cramming for an exam (#27), study with a close friend and take frequent breaks (#1), or when sitting in a boring lecture #25), choose a seat in a remote corner of the lecture hall and engage in a little nookie (#1) while the lecturer drones on. You could also kill two birds with one stone by showering (#21) with a friend (#1). You might also apply #2 as necessary in conjunction with any lower-ranking activity.

The possibilities are endless!

Don't thank me ... it's all part of my ongoing efforts to help you cope with the rigors of a difficult world.

Have a good day. Seek balance. More thoughts tomorrow.



eViL pOp TaRt said...

Housework and making love? Facebook and getting drunk? Lectures and sex? You know, I think you have a plan here, Bilbo!

John said...

If you decided to volunteer (#3) to take somebody out for drinks, get drunk (#2) and have sex (#1) you'd have to be about the happiest person alive!

Kristen Lavransdrittsekkdatter said...

You can still increase your total happiness by caring for others and doing volunteer work, or religion coupled with those less pleasant things.

Mike said...

You could combine #8 and #1. I think some people already do.