The Secret to Happiness Is…

userpic=mood-swingsA late lunch post: It is rare that I get a threesome-themed news chum early in the week like this, but I just lucked out:

  • The Value of Face to Face. A recent study has shown that if you’re feeling depressed, hanging out with friends or loved ones face-to-face is better for your emotional health than a phone call or sending an email. Specifically, people who get together regularly with family and friends are about half as likely to report symptoms of depression as those who have little face-to-face contact. In the study, volunteers who met with family and friends at least three times a week had the lowest risk of developing symptoms of depression, 6.5 percent, compared to an 11.3 percent risk among those who got together once every few months or less when surveyed at the two-year mark. In contrast, the frequency of phone calls and emails had no clear impact on the risk of depression.
  • The Importance of Encouragement. Another study has shown that praise from friends and family not only makes us feel good, it actually improves our problem-solving skills. According to the researchers, the study illustrates the positive impact of “best-self activation” on problem-solving abilities: When people are reminded of a time in the past when they were at their best, they’re more likely to rise to the occasion once again. And while thinking back on proud moments can be helpful, the researchers found that best-self activations were most effective when they came from participants’ social networks. Positive memories from friends, family, and colleagues have a real impact on our ability to successfully perform tasks under pressure.
  • Cheap, Large Weddings Bode Well. Here’s one more interesting research finding: according to a new study, spending between $2,000 and $4,000 on an engagement ring is significantly associated with an increase in the risk of divorce. On the other hand, to minimize your chances of divorce: You should date for three years before popping the question. Be wealthy, but don’t be a gold-digger. Have a huge wedding, but make sure it’s cheap. And whatever you do, don’t skip the honeymoon. Here’s a great article from the Atlantic that visualizes the results of the study.

[Edited to fix the first sentence: The original (“it is rare that I get a threesome early in the week like this, but I just lucked out”), on first blush and a second reading, made me second blush.]