Monday, March 16, 2009

Happiness and People In Our Lives

Social scientists say that 70-85% of our happiness comes from our association with other people. (Depends on the scientist you listen to where the percentage falls.) These are the people we choose to spend time with - that doesn't include your children (unless they're grown), but it does include your spouse.

When things are not going well, the people in your life help you through the rough times. When you're happy, it's magnified when you share it with other people.

We know that the five people you choose to spend time with have more impact on your life than any other single factor. That's not just for happiness, but general attitude about dozens of things, how you'll react to situations, how you manage money, etc. etc. etc. It really is like your Mama said when she was telling you that wasn't a good crowd to be hanging around with.

So, armed with this knowledge, I've been thinking about why I'm not as happy as I should be these days. I should be ecstatic every day - literally floating on clouds - thrilled with my good health and good news. I'm not unhappy by any means, but I'm not ecstatic.

Tonight it occurred to me that my social life largely relies on me to organize and instigate it, with noteable exceptions, and I haven't felt up to that recently. So, I've been missing a lot of my normal interaction. I've been hesitant to make any plans until I see how I'll feel at any given moment, and I haven't been planning for any gatherings at my home. So, in many ways, my social life has ground to a halt the last 2 1/2 months. I haven't felt up to creating the opportunity for much planned socializing and part of it is the anticipation. It's a loss. But, it's something I'm going to have to make it through a little while longer.


Anonymous said...

Seems to me that, if your social life largely depends on you to make it happen, your friends are not as close to you as I, or perhaps you, had thought. That, in itself, would be a downer.

Patsy Terrell said...

There are notable exceptions, but I accepted a long time ago that if I was going to live in Kansas and have a social life I was going to have to - by and large - create it. People here to not entertain very much. It's rare to be invited to someone's home. I love to have people over and do that often, but I haven't felt like it and my house certainly isn't ready for guests with a hospital bed in the dining room. I didn't mean to give the impression that was all about others not inviting me to things - I haven't wanted to make many plans because I just haven't known how I would feel from one day to the next. It will all sort out, I'm sure. And, I've been very, very fortunate that so many friends have been with me through email and phone and in person during this difficult time. It's just a different thing to have a long, soul searching conversation with someone than to exchange pleasantries over the phone. It's just a phase - it will pass once I'm up to making plans again.