Happiness is a Hamster in a Hammock
Yes, it’s true! Hamsters are happy in a hammock. I love this recent study. It’s just so darn lighthearted and cute!
If you think we humans are the only ones that enjoy hanging out in a hammock gazing at the clouds after a hard day’s work – think again. Turns out that furry little rodents also appreciate the art of leaning back lazily in a hammock, just chilling, and munching on a piece of lettuce.
Want proof? Check out the video that was posted on Jaieden Ace Shen’s Facebook page in this article and just try and tell me that this hamster doesn’t look downright cute, cuddly, AND content. I mean, REALLY content.
A new UK study by researchers at Liverpool John Moores University backs up the video. Scientists measured the moods of hamsters and found that hamsters in an “enriched environment” with hammocks, extra bedding, hanging tents, plastic huts, and chew sticks displayed similar mental states as those seen in happy people.
The enriched environment made them more optimistic – just like people who look on the bright side of life. And evidently, an optimistic hamster is a happy hamster.
How did the researchers know if a hamster was happy?
They trained the furry creatures to choose between bitter-tasting water and sugary water placed in two different locations. All were initially housed in basic and boring cages with a thin layer of wood chip bedding, a simple running wheel, and two cardboard tubes. Not exactly hamster heaven. Then half of the hamsters were put in more luxurious cages with hammocks and other fun stuff.
When an ‘ambiguous’ drinking tube was placed between the two tubes with bitter and sugary water, the hamsters who had experienced an enriched environment with the fancy cages approached it more often. Evidently, they were more optimistic that the tube might contain the sugar water. Those from plain and boring cages were less likely to try their luck.
From this, scientists came to the conclusion that the happy hamsters from stimulating cages were more hopeful about the chances of getting a sweet drink from the tube. “Hamsters housed in enriched environments make more optimistic judgments,” lead researcher Dr. Emily Bethell said.
Does optimism help humans to be happy as well? Just check out my blog, Benefits of a Positive Attitude, for the answer. And if you need help becoming more optimistic, read how in my article, Five Ways to Cultivate a Positive Attitude.
If these tips don’t do the trick, try hanging a hammock in your backyard and see if that doesn’t make you feel better. And if that fails to cheer you up, I don’t know about you, but just visualizing a hamster in a hammock makes me smile.
Image courtesy of James Barker at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.