Apr 23, 2013

Posted by in Issue of the Day, Social comment | 0 Comments

Well, go figure . . . likes attract

There has been extensive debate – and very considerable academic argument – ever since the ancient Greeks about whether opposites or likes attract each other. Accepted thinking has spun like a weather vane between the two as physicists and other scientists have revealed ever deeper secrets of physics and the universe.

It has been the same with social relationships with some gurus saying opposite characters create the best marriage/partnership models but with seemingly just as many believing the contrary. This discourse will no doubt perpetuate itself for many decades to come and may, in fact, never be resolved.

But a new psychiatric study does suggest – for the moment – that like attracts like.

A research paper from staff at the Flinders’ Medical Centre (an offshoot of a major Australian university) suggests that happiness is contagious- but so is depression. The authors go so far as to say that moods and even mental illnesses can spread like the flu.

How scary is that? But, hey, haven’t we always known this?

In any workplace you know that whingers stick together and complain about anything and everything. The happy crazies all wander about in love with life. And the rest of us muddle along in between.

Disturbingly, this new research suggests that there may be up to three degrees of separation involved in friends and families of those who are very happy or very sad.

When analysing the potential for depression, they recommend examining not just friends but friends of friends to see if anyone is exerting influence.

Their conclusion? Having a wider circle of friends is protective and social activity is a good thing. So, don’t sit alone and morose: get out there and swing like there’s no tomorrow.

Oh, yes, there ARE other problems apart from depression (and even happiness) so do be careful who you mix with and how closely you mix.

Otherwise, have a wonderful time and remember that mixing with sad sacks will never make you happy.

 

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