"Without mathematics, there is nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers."
- Shakuntala Devi
Math and human interaction are not a particularly obvious paring to most people, myself included. But the truth of the matter is that equations do rule our lives in a way we perhaps instinctively know but do not understand. On that note, one of the most interesting studies I have come across (available here) examined the ratios of positive information vs negative information for happiness throughout three different areas: work, relationships, and mental health in general.
According to the research (which actually spanned a couple of papers), the best distribution is as follows:
For overall mental health:
Anything below a 2.5 positive to 1 negative (or a 2.5:1) ratio generally lead to depression or other emotional issues.
Those with a 4.3:1 ratio or high had optimal mental health.
For the work environment:
Teams with 3:1 ratio appeared to thrive whereas those below suffered.
However, the ratio could become too high; anything more than a 13:1 felt disingenuous.
Good relationships needed a 5:1 ratio during discussion and conversation.
They also needed a 4.7:1 ratio when it came to emotions.
There are some things I wished the study included, though. For example, does a day of relationship love-bombing offset a heated argument if the ratio remains intact? I have some doubts. Nevertheless, I think it is incredibly interesting and am curious to start applying it more to life in general.
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