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研究:金钱买不到幸福,时间可以

2014-01-27    来源:chinadaily    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Money doesn’t buy happiness, but time just might do it

据科技杂志Nautilus报道,当人们去远方度假时,往往会发现时间过得与平时很不一样。热带地区悠闲的节奏让我们习惯于“岛上的时间”,过得更加放松。去大城市令人兴奋,却也被充满活力的快节奏生活弄得筋疲力尽。

While on vacation in distant locales, people often find that time moves quite differently than in the places they’re used to. In the tropics, we settle into the grooves of “island time” and relax thanks to a more leisurely rhythm. A trip to a big city can leave us exhilarated but also drained by the energetic whir of life there.

The different paces of different communities also seem to be connected to other cultural characteristics. Robert Levine and his colleagues have studied the speed of life in cities around the world and across the U.S. In a series of experiments they measured how fast solitary pedestrians in a downtown core covered a distance of 60 feet (being careful to exclude those who are obviously window shopping), timed how long it took to complete a simple commercial transaction, and recorded the accuracy of randomly selected clocks in the downtown business area. They found that places with a faster pace of life also had more robust economies (as measured by GDP per capita, average purchasing power, and average caloric intake), and that people in larger cities tended to move faster than those in less populated areas. They also found truth to the stereotype that people move slower in hotter places.

So as you might expect, fast-moving people are associated with fast-moving economies. But does that faster life translate into greater happiness? In faster places (specifically, economically developed areas of North America, Western Europe, and Asia), people were more likely to smoke, less likely to take the time to help strangers in need, and more likely to die from coronary heart disease. Yet Levine and his colleagues found that residents in faster places tended to report feeling somewhat happier with their lives than those who lived in slower places. A city’s pace of life was indeed “significantly related” to the physical, social, and psychological well-being of its inhabitants.

Perhaps the higher reported rates of happiness simply reflect the fact that faster places have more robust economies. But the relationship between income and reported happiness is far from obvious. According to the “Easterlin paradox” (named after economist Richard Easterlin), once people have enough money to meet their basic needs, having more money is not necessarily correlated with higher self-reported happiness. Easterlin’s claims are controversial and not universally accepted; even if his theory is correct, wealthier nations might be happier overall if they address the basic needs to more of their people. In any case, the ongoing debate indicates that we need to tread carefully when making connections between happiness and overall economic factors.

Among individuals in a society, busyness—or the feeling of busyness—seems to be an important factor in well-being. That feeling of busyness—of having a lot to do and too little time in which to do itis often associated with stress and anxiety. However in many contexts being “busy” is badge of honor: Busy parents are seen as devoted to their children’s well-being, the busy real estate agent must be closing lots of sales, and the busy lawyer can charge a premium hourly rate. In US studies, the happiest people reported that they were busy, in the sense that they had little excess time, yet did not feel rushed. Like big-city dwellers, they seemed to thrive at a faster pace.


Levine’s work raises the intriguing possibility that an individual’s feelings about their use of time contribute as much or more to their happiness as does economics. Now the big challenge is to find out which way the causal chain works: Does the feeling of being active, yet not rushed, contribute to happiness? Or does happiness allow people to perceive their use of time in positive ways?(ChinaDaily)

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群体间不同的生活节奏是与他们的文化有关的。罗伯特•莱文和他的同事们对全球各个城市和美国各地的生活节奏做了一个调查。通过一系列的实验,他们计算出了每个城市里的人走过60英尺需要的时间(他们仔细地将其中明显是在逛街的人排除在外),计算了一桩买卖成交需要的时间,并且记录了在中心商业区随机挑选的时钟的准确性。他们发现节奏快的地方往往是那些经济更加发达的地方(通过对比人均GDP、平均购买力还有平均热量摄入),并且人们在大城市里比在人口少的地方走得更快。他们也发现了人们在热的地方走得更慢这一惯例。

正如你所想象的那样,快节奏的人们和高速增长的经济相关。但是快节奏的生活就意味着幸福么?在快节奏的地方(尤其是经济发达地区,如北美、西欧和亚洲),更多的人抽烟,更少的人会去帮助那些需要帮助的人,并且更容易死于冠心病。但是莱文和他的同事们发现,在快节奏城市生活的人觉得自己比那些生活在慢节奏城市的人更加幸福。一个城市的生活节奏明显与居民的身体健康、社会意识和心理状态息息相关。

也许更高的幸福指数反应出了这样一个事实:快节奏的城市拥有更好的经济发展。但是收入与幸福指数间的关系并不明显。根据伊斯特林悖论(以经济学家理查德•伊斯特林的名字命名),一旦人们拥有足够的钱满足基本的生活需求,收入与幸福指数关联得并不紧密。伊斯特林悖论存在着争议也没有被普遍接受,尽管他的理论是对的,在满足了更多人们的基本生活需求时,总的来说更富有的国家幸福指数会高些。无论如何,依旧持续着的争议告诉我们将幸福指数和整体经济因素进行关联时需要多加小心。

对社会中的个体来说,忙碌——或者感觉忙碌——似乎是影响状态的重要因素。忙碌的感觉——有很多的事情要做,却没有多少时间的感觉经常带来压力与焦虑。但在很多的情况下,忙碌是一个光荣的标志:忙碌的父母被认为是为了让孩子过得好;忙碌的房地产经纪人则与客户更加亲密;忙碌的律师的时薪也更高。在美国的调查发现,幸福指数最高的人都很忙,也就意味着他们没有多余的时间,也不觉得匆忙。就好像大城市的居民们,他们似乎喜欢更快的生活节奏。

莱文的研究显示了对时间利用的个人感觉可能比经济更加影响幸福指数。现在的问题时需要找出这样的影响是怎样发生的:是因为充实并不匆忙的感觉令人幸福?还是幸福让人们更加积极地利用他们的时间?


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