Straight from the “well, DUH” files comes the findings of a study from scientists at the University of Vermont: The more miles you put between your home and job, the happier you become. Or, as researchers put it: “Expressed happiness increases logarithmically with distance from an individual’s average location.”
Scientists reached this conclusion after analyzing 37 million tweets from 180,000 different Twitter users. The tweets, which were collected over the course of 2011 and included each Twitter user’s location, were ranked on a happiness scale scientists called the hedonometer.
People’s relative happiness levels were assessed based on how often they used common words like “great” or “hate”. Unsurprisingly, when people were far from their usual locations (I.e., when they were on the road or on vacation), they used words like “beach”, “love”, “rainbow”, “excellent” “restaurant”, “coffee”, and “new”, whereas when they were closer to home (i.e, commuting to work, picking up the dry cleaning), they were more likely to use words like “bored”, “no”, “damn” and “hate”.
Of course, it’s hard to tell with these findings how many of those Twitter users are actually happy to be traveling and how many are just pretending or simply showing off. Then there’s the fact that while it’s very easy to complain on Twitter about having to, say, go to the dentist or get your tires rotated, people are going to be harder-pressed to find something negative to say while tanning on the beach in Bora Bora (even if they’re not particular happy while doing so).
Anyway, regardless, you can follow me on Twitter as I (happily!) tweet about my adventures from both the road and at home.
Photo courtesy of Palomaleca.
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