We’ve heard so many times that being surrounded by people boosts one’s happiness.
Our happiest moments are with people we love and trust. It makes sense that there’s a strong correlation between happiness and companionship.
However, recent studies show that this fact may not be true for all. In fact, there’s actually only a single study that suggests that these correlations are true.
It could be that we’re happier around less people, and intelligent people need to spend more time alone.
The Savannah Theory of Happiness
Researchers from Singapore Management University and London School of Economics have completed a thorough investigation on what they call the “savannah theory” of happiness. This theory, which relates back to our ancestors’ time and way of living in savannah, looks into the psychological needs of a person.
The study looked for correlations between rural and urban areas and the population’s life satisfaction. The findings suggested that people living in dense populations reflecting bigger cities and fast-paced environments felt less happy than their counterparts in less dense populations.
This connects back to the savannah theory that humans naturally feel uneasy when in larger packs, with the brain only allowing us to be comfortable with up to 150 people at one time around us. After exceeding 200 people, it’s more reasonable to break the group into two for efficient functionality and cooperation.
It’s not to say that we are scientifically happier alone, as evolution has allowed our smarter ancestors to strategically adapt to larger groups on the savannah due to flexibility and innate ingenuity. This adaption lead our descendants to be able to encounter and adapt efficiently to stress when in dense populous environments.
Intelligent People Are Happier Alone
On another point, the researchers have found by looking at groups of highly intelligent people, that socializing with friends too much seems to give them less life satisfaction – they feel happier when spending time alone. Possibly due to social interactions distracting them from their goal-oriented life.
It’s hard to say what’s true or not, as we all have different needs and opinions on what makes us happy. There are lot of contradicting theories on the study of happiness, and there really isn’t a rule for it.
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