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Snippet of The Happiness Lab: Mistakenly Seeking Solitude

From Audio: Mistakenly Seeking Solitude

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Duration: 04:17
Sometimes it feels like the busier we get, the more alone time we desire. Solitude is great in moderation, but it's important that we have meaningful relationships with people we can trust when times get tough.
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Sometimes it feels like the busier we get, the more alone time we desire. Solitude is great in moderation, but it's important that we have meaningful relationships with people we can trust when times get tough. Call an old friend, eat dinner with a relative, go on a walk, and say hello to your neighbors! Socializing with other humans is known to boost happiness levels, so the more often you do it, the happier you'll be.
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and it just made sense that nobody wanted to wait in the teller line like I did. So it makes every bank customer happy to get in and get out and do some other things a bit more free. Time is something we all need. And dawn Simple idea has probably freed up millions, possibly billions of hours the world over. But it turns out there's an awful downside to all this convenience and save time, one that are lying. Minds don't even realize. Don Wetzel's intuition was that most people want a bit of extra free time that it will make us happier and the science backs him up. Simply put, we all feel way too busy today. Many of us experience what scientists call time famine were literally starving for time, and that famished feeling has a negative effect on our well being. In fact, people who report feeling short on time are more likely to be depressed, anxious and less happy than people who feel like they have lots of free time. Psychologists have even come up with a term for that amazing feeling you get when say, Ah, meeting is canceled and you suddenly have a free hour you didn't expect. We call it time, affluence and those rare moments when we feel wealthy and time can make us feel amazing. It's one of the reasons that every once in a while I sometimes surprised my Yale students by canceling my happiness class, and their reactions show just how important a little unexpected time off can be. One student even burst into tears. She said. It was the first time she had an hour off all semester. She'd almost forgotten what it was like to have some free time. So adding even a few extra minutes to our perceived time. Banks can feel really good. But recent studies also suggest something rather counterintuitive. That is, we miss estimate just how busy we really are. While there's lots of work showing that we feel busier than ever before, there's very little evidence showing that we actually are busier, which is kind of weird. It's as though our minds tell us we're super busy all the time, but in reality it's not as bad as we think. But there's another, even more insidious way. Our mind leads us astray. When we try to save some time, it turns out. There's an opportunity cost that comes from avoiding those bank lines, and the cost is a social one. Long lines are frustrating, but they're also an opportunity to be around other people. And the sheer amount of time we spend around other people actually predicts how happy we are. Take one famous study by positive psychologist at dinner and Marty Sullivan. They looked at people who scored in the highest 10th percentile unhappiness surveys and tried to figure out what makes them so much happier than the rest of us. The researchers discovered that these happy people didn't spend any more time exercising or doing religious activities. What did these happy folks do differently? There were more social. They spent more time around other humans than people with average levels of happiness. The results were so strong that these researchers deemed being around other people as a necessary condition for very high happiness. Another study by Nobel Prize winning psychologist Danny Kahneman confirmed this. He and his colleagues tested which daily activities make us feel best. The winner socializing with others. It's better than eating, shopping, relaxing or even watching TV. Just being with other people makes us feel good. Even if those people are strangers there. Lots of sources of well, being standing around you, you just have to tap into him. My friend Nick Epley is a professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. Happiness isn't about the intensity of experiences that we have. It's about the frequency of them. Happiness is like is like a you know, a leaky tire on your car. You don't have a nice conversation with somebody and then are happy forever. But if you're having a nice conversation with somebody on a plane, that plane right is more enjoyable than it would have been otherwise. But then, you know, once you're off the plane, right? You know, your tire goes flat a little bit, you got to do something else toe, pump it back up. And so I find a lot of these conversations are like are like, uh, you know, air compressors for my for my time.
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