Why Hedonism Is So Important For Your Happiness

Some people know how to enjoy themselves.

Some people know how to enjoy themselves.

Indulging in short-term pleasures is just as important for happiness as self-control, a study finds.

While self-control is often recommended as the best route to happiness, enjoying yourself in the moment leads to long-term happiness, as well as reducing the chance of depression and anxiety.

Goals like learning a foreign language or getting fit can be rewarding, but sometimes we need to have fun.

People who find it hard to enjoy hedonistic pleasures because they are thinking about what they should be doing instead are missing out.

The new study comes in response to a focus in psychology on self-control.

Higher self-control has been linked to all sorts of positive outcomes, along with happiness.

Dr Katharina Bernecker, the study’s first author, said:

“It’s time for a rethink.

Of course self-control is important, but research on self-regulation should pay just as much attention to hedonism, or short-term pleasure.”

For the study, researchers developed a questionnaire designed to test people’s capacity for hedonism.

People who are good at enjoying themselves in the moment tend to agree with statements like:

  • “I often do what I feel like doing.”
  • “I can follow my desires in the here and now.”

People poor at enjoying themselves agree with statements like:

  • “Thoughts about my work sometimes prevent me from enjoying pleasant activities and moments.”
  • “I often think about my duties even while I am enjoying a good moment.”

People poor at enjoying the moment tend to get distracted by intrusive thoughts about what they should be doing instead.

Dr Daniela Becker, study co-author, said:

“For example, when lying on the couch you might keep thinking of the sport you are not doing.

Those thoughts about conflicting long-term goals undermine the immediate need to relax.”

The results showed that some people find it hard to indulge in short-term pleasures.

They are also more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.

None of which is to say that hedonism should be the sole aim of life, said Dr Bernecker:

“The pursuit of hedonic and long-term goals needn’t be in conflict with one another.

Our research shows that both are important and can complement each other in achieving well-being and good health.

It is important to find the right balance in everyday life.”

It can be hard work, though, enjoying yourself, Dr Bernecker said:

“It was always thought that hedonism, as opposed to self-control, was the easier option.

But really enjoying one’s hedonic choice isn’t actually that simple for everybody because of those distracting thoughts.”

One solution for those who find it hard to enjoy themselves is to to set aside specific times for enjoyment.

That way enjoyment is the sole aim of that period of time, hopefully reducing intrusive thoughts about other, more worthy, activities.

The study was published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (Bernecker & Becker, 2020).

The Guaranteed Way To Be More Happy Immediately

Study of more than 10,000 people reveals how the grumpiest people can be more happy today.

Study of more than 10,000 people reveals how the grumpiest people can be more happy today.

The key to being more happy is simply to move around a little more.

A little extra physical movement makes people appreciably happier, research finds.

Activities that can’t even be classified as exercise, but do involve moving around a little are enough to provide a boost.

Getting up from the desk to walk around a little is one good example.

Dr Jason Rentfrow, one of the paper’s authors, said:

“Our data show that happy people are more active in general.

However, our analyses also indicated that periods of physical activity led to increased positive mood, regardless of individuals’ baseline happiness.

There have been many studies about the positive psychological effects of exercise, but what we’ve found is that in order to be happier, you don’t have to go out and run a marathon – all you’ve really got to do is periodically engage in slight physical activity throughout the day.”

The results come from a study in which data from over 10,000 people’s smartphones was analysed.

People who moved about more were happier and people were happier in those moments when they moved about more.

Dr Gillian Sandstrom, a study co-author, said:

“Most of us don’t keep track of all of our movements during the day.

A person might track whether they went for a walk or went to the gym, but when asked, most of them probably wouldn’t remember walking from the desk to the photocopier, or from the car to the office door.”

Professor Cecilia Mascolo, another study co-author, added:

“This study shows how mobile and wearable technology really can allow social psychologists to perform large longitudinal studies as well as open a direct and permanent connection with the users for advice and intervention.”

The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE (Lathia et al., 2016).

How Age Affects People’s Satisfaction With Life And Their Emotions (M)

People’s average life satisfaction decreased between ages 9 and 16, probably because of puberty.

People's average life satisfaction decreased between ages 9 and 16, probably because of puberty.

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This Type Of Love Makes People Happier

Noticing these sources of happiness makes people more optimistic and increases their wellbeing.

Noticing these sources of happiness makes people more optimistic and increases their wellbeing.

People who experience more moments of ‘felt love’ during the day have better mental wellbeing, research finds.

This type of love does not need to be romantic — it can come from all sorts of sources.

These moments include things like a friend asking after your health, receiving a nice compliment or getting heartfelt thanks from a colleague.

Brief experiences of connection and love in everyday life like these are also linked to greater optimism and purpose in life.

The study suggests that paying attention to small everyday moments of connection could improve happiness and optimism.

Dr Zita Oravecz, the study’s first author, said:

“We took a very broad approach when we looked at love.

Everyday felt love is conceptually much broader than romantic love.

It’s those micro-moments in your life when you experience resonance with someone.

For example, if you’re talking to a neighbor and they express concern for your well-being, then you might resonate with that and experience it as a feeling of love, and that might improve your well-being.”

The conclusions come from a study of 212 people who were prompted by their smartphones to report their felt love and wellbeing six times per day over four weeks.

The results showed that as the study went on people noticed more examples of love and connection in their own lives.

It could be that being asked to notice these moments increased people’s awareness.

Dr Oravecz said:

“It’s something that we’ve seen in the literature on mindfulness, when people are reminded to focus attention on positive things, their overall awareness of those positive things begins to rise.

Similarly, just by paying attention to those everyday moments of felt love, we may also increase our awareness of the overall positive aspects of love in our daily lives.

This effect replicates in both studies, implying that raising awareness of felt love in day-to-day life may itself be an intervention that raises levels of felt love over a longer period of time.”

The study was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences (Oravecz et al., 2020).

The Type Of Humour Linked To Happiness

Using this kind of humour is linked to being happier.

Using this kind of humour is linked to being happier.

People who use humour to laugh at themselves are happier, research finds.

Laughing at oneself is also linked to being more social.

The finding — that laughing at oneself could be psychologically healthy — comes from research into how people use humour.

Jorge Torres Marín, the Spanish study’s first author, said:

“…a greater tendency to employ self-defeating humour is indicative of high scores in psychological well-being dimensions such as happiness and, to a lesser extent, sociability.”

The researchers also found that people who used humour to strengthen their social ties were kinder.

Humour that was self-enhancing also had its role to play.

Self-enhancing humour — especially under trying circumstances — has been linked to happiness, satisfaction with life and hope.

Other types of humour, though, were more sinister.

Ginés Navarro-Carrillo, study co-author, said:

“[the] results suggest that humour, even when presented as benign or well-intentioned, can also represent a strategy for masking negative intentions.

Humour enables individuals with low scores in honesty to build trust, closeness, etc. with other people and thereby use important information in order to manipulate them or obtain advantages in the future.”

Aggressive humour was mainly used by people to express anger.

People who use aggressive humour were found to experience negative feelings, like superiority and hate, in everyday life.

They also found it harder to manage their rage or anger well.

The study was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences (Torres-Marín et al., 2018).

4 Signs That You Are Happy With Your Life

Satisfaction with life refers to the overall way in which people evaluate their own lives: including their relationships, career, achieved goals and ability to cope with daily life.

Satisfaction with life refers to the overall way in which people evaluate their own lives: including their relationships, career, achieved goals and ability to cope with daily life.

Higher satisfaction with life is linked to markedly improved psychological and physical health, a study finds.

Satisfaction with life refers to the overall way in which people evaluate their own lives: including their relationships, career, achieved goals and ability to cope with daily life.

It is often contrasted with moment-by-moment happiness.

People who are highly satisfied with their lives tend to agree strongly with statements like:

  1. “In most ways my life is close to my ideal.”
  2. “The conditions of my life are excellent.”
  3. “So far I have gotten the important things I want in life.”
  4. “If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.”

The study found that people who were highly satisfied with their lives were also:

  • 46 percent less likely to be depressed.
  • 26 percent less likely to die.
  • 25 percent less likely to have a physical disability.

They were also more hopeful, optimistic, felt a greater sense of mastery and were less lonely.

Improve satisfaction with life

Money and how people rate their appearance have a considerable effect on how satisfied people are with life.

However, many factors that are easier to change affect life satisfaction.

Relationships clearly have a large effect on life satisfaction, along with jobs, hobbies, learning to savour life, setting goals, being in nature and even analysing negative events in life.

In the end, accepting and adapting to circumstances that cannot be changed makes people feel more content.

Governments should look past money

The conclusions of the current study come from almost 13,000 people over 50-years-old surveyed in the U.S..

Each was asked to evaluate their health and well-being and followed up four years later.

Dr Eric Kim, the study’s first author, said:

“Life satisfaction is a person’s evaluation of his or her own life based on factors that they deem most relevant.

While life satisfaction is shaped by genetics, social factors and changing life circumstances, it can also be improved on both the individual level as well as collectively on the national level.”

The results showed that people whose life satisfaction improved also experienced considerable boosts in psychological and physical health.

The research is part of an effort to persuade governments to think about more than just money when making policy decisions.

Dr Kim said:

“The results of this study suggest that life satisfaction is a valuable target for policymakers to consider when enhancing physical, psychological and behavioural health outcomes at the policy level.”

He continued:

“As our nations pause and reevaluate our priorities in light of the widespread change caused by COVID-19, our policymakers have a rare and excellent opportunity to pursue well-being for all in the post-pandemic world.”

The study was published in the journal The Milbank Quarterly (Kim et al., 2021).

The Top 2 Things That Predict Your Satisfaction With Life

It’s a little depressing, but it probably confirms what you always thought.

It’s a little depressing, but it probably confirms what you always thought.

People’s appearance and their money dominate how satisfied they feel with life, a survey reveals.

Among women, appearance was the third strongest predictor of how satisfied they were with life.

The top two places were taken by money and satisfaction with their partner.

For men their appearance came second in predicting how satisfied they were with life — it was second only to how happy they were with their financial situation.

Dr David Frederick, the study’s first author, said:

“Our study shows that men’s and women’s feelings about their weight and appearance play a major role in how satisfied they are with their lives overall.”

The survey asked over 12,000 US adults about their personality, relationships, self-esteem and more.

Dr Frederick said:

“Few men (24 percent) and women (20 percent) felt very or extremely satisfied with their weight, and only half felt somewhat to extremely satisfied.

These findings are consistent with the emphasis placed on the importance of being slender for women and for appearing athletic and/or lean for men.

It would seem therefore, that we still have a long way to go before we achieve the goal of Americans being truly happy with their bodies.”

Other key findings from the study included:

  • People who watched more hours of television per week were less satisfied with their appearance and weight.
  • People who were more satisfied with their physical appearance and weight reported more secure attachment styles, versus fearful and dismissive attachment styles.
  • People who were more satisfied with their appearance reported greater self-esteem, greater satisfaction with life, sex life, friends, romantic partners, family, and financial situation.
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) was strongly related to dissatisfaction with appearance and weight.

Dr Frederick said:

“…body dissatisfaction and anxious attachment styles can lead to an out of control spiral and fuel each other.

People who are less confident in their appearance become more fearful that their partner will leave, which further fuels their worries about their appearance.”

The study was published in the journal Body Image (Frederick et al., 2016).

The Best Way To ‘Buy Happiness’ With Money

Most people do not use this method of buying happiness, but perhaps they should…

Most people do not use this method of buying happiness, but perhaps they should…

Spending money to buy yourself time can bring happiness, research finds.

For example, hiring someone to clean your house or do other odd-jobs is beneficial to mental well-being.

Dr Ashley Whillans, the study’s first author, said:

“People who hire a housecleaner or pay the kid next door to mow the lawn might feel like they’re being lazy.

But our results suggest that buying time has similar benefits for happiness as having more money.”

The survey of 6,000 adults across the US, Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands asked people how much they spent ‘buying time’ for themselves.

Those who spent the most (as a percentage of their income) were more satisfied with life.

Professor Elizabeth Dunn, who led the study, said:

“The benefits of buying time aren’t just for wealthy people.

We thought the effects might only hold up for people with quite a bit of disposable income, but to our surprise, we found the same effects across the income spectrum.”

A field experiment also backed up the survey finding.

People were randomly asked to spend $40 on either saving time or buying some material good.

People felt happier when they saved time.

However, most people don’t like outsourcing activities that save them time.

A survey of 850 millionaires found 50% did not spend a single dime on outsourcing disliked tasks.

And the rest of us are no different, with 98% of people surveyed saying they would NOT spend a $40 windfall in a way that saved them time.

Professor Dunn said:

“Although buying time can serve as a buffer against the time pressures of daily life, few people are doing it even when they can afford it.

Lots of research has shown that people benefit from buying their way into pleasant experiences, but our research suggests people should also consider buying their way out of unpleasant experiences.”

The study was published in the journal PNAS (Whillans et al., 2017).

The Emotion That Is An Unexpected Sign Of High IQ

This sign is not normally linked to being smart.

This sign is not normally linked to being smart.

Happiness is a sign of high intelligence, research finds.

People who are more satisfied with their life and their job score higher on tests of general mental ability.

Satisfaction with life is one of the two major aspects of happiness, along with the feeling of positive emotions in the moment.

The results come from 33 studies on almost 50,000 people.

Along with finding a link between happiness and higher IQ, the study also found that higher IQ was linked to greater job satisfaction.

More intelligent people tend to earn more and have more complex jobs.

Complexity is likely to be more rewarding.

Naturally, then, when highly intelligent people are not challenged in their job, they are not as happy.

The study’s authors conclude:

“…smarter people may be happier both at work and in their everyday lives as a function of their higher attained job complexity and income.

We also found that, when holding complexity and income constant, GMA [general mental ability, or IQ] has a negative relationship with job satisfaction, which may be due to feelings of boredom and frustration at work experienced by high GMA individuals at “average” levels of complexity and income.”

The study was published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior (Gonzalez-Mulé et al., 2017).

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