Tuesday, December 25, 2012

On Average, People are Happier on Holidays

Happiness researchers have for years now been calling people at random times to ask what they are doing and how they feel. (The happiest people are the ones having sex.) As a side effect of this research, we now have enough data to compare how people feel on different days of the year. Contrary to what curmudgeons would expect, Americans are happier on Christmas than any other time of the year. Thanksgiving is close behind.
Why is this the case? There are several reasons, but one of the main reasons is that we spend more time interacting with our friends and family on these holidays and, as it turns out, doing so is a robustly positive predictor of our happiness.
Holidays can be hard on people who are depressed, lonely, anxious, or from screwed up families, but on the whole they are an important break from routine.

Note that people doing last-minute shopping are often quite unhappy. So plan ahead.

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