A New MIT Study Shows We’re Exploring Less Post-Pandemic. Science Says That’s a Happiness Killer

A New MIT Study Shows We’re Exploring Less Post-Pandemic. Science Says That’s a Happiness Killer

Are you exploring less? Are you going on fewer adventures? Are you not taking risks and playing safe?

If so, it may very well be impacting on your happiness.

Happiness isn’t all about safety and comfort; those aren’t entirely bad, but calculated risk and surprise and novelty are most definitely crucial when it comes to enjoying the full range of positive emotions including happiness.

If this all sounds relevant, then read on to learn more …

via Inc.com by Jessica Stillman

Phone location data shows people are sticking closer to home these days. Science says you’d be happier if you got out of your rut.

For a couple of years there during the pandemic, epidemiological realities meant we couldn’t get out of the house and explore. Cooped up at home, many of us dreamed of the vacations we’d take, the exotic business trips we’d plan, and the activities we’d organize once the virus was under control. So now that Covid is no longer such a pressing concern, people are taking advantage by exploring widely and often, right?

Have we become a nation of homebodies?

Not according to fascinating new research out of MIT, recently covered by Bloomberg. A team out of the MIT Media Lab tracked the mobile phone data of one million Americans from 2019 to 2021. As expected, during lockdowns we all stayed put a lot more. But when restrictions were lifted, the researchers were surprised by what they found.

“As of late 2021, people remained less likely to engage in social exploration, which the study authors define as the likelihood of visiting a new place where they earn significantly more or less than than the general population. Instead, they just returned to familiar destinations,” reports Bloomberg‘s Immanual John Milton.

The data showed that through the end of 2021, people were visiting fewer museums and other attractions, and seeing fewer folks from beyond their close neighborhood circle. Census data offers a much less fine-grained look at Amercans’ mobility but points in the same directon: We’re now moving to new houses at the lowest rate on record as well.

Your brain wants you to explore more.

The MIT researchers suggest their findings may be useful for public officials thinking about how to tweak city planning and public transportation to nudge people back to depopulated downtowns and build a stronger sense of community. The findings should also be of interest to entrepreneurs looking to both plan for their businesses and maximize their own personal happiness…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE