- New Study: Positive Changes and Gratefulness Can Promote Lasting Happiness -

By Monica Wilson on February 21, 2018

Researchers from the University of Missouri identified two ways on how to keep the feeling of happiness longer. These include the need to keep having new and positive experiences and the need to appreciate what you already have. Their report has been published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Sustaining Happiness

Previous research has shown that one’s level of happiness increases after experiencing major life changes such as starting a new romantic relationship. But everything goes back to normal as time passes by. For instance, some people tend to stop doing fun things with their new partners and would wish that they were better-looking. Kennon Sheldon, a professor of psychological sciences in MU and Sonja Lyubomirsky of the University of California, conducted a study that aimed to investigate how higher levels of happiness that come with positive changes can be sustained.

In the said study, researchers interviewed 481 individuals about their happiness. Participants were asked to identify recent changes that made them feel happier. After six weeks, researchers re-assessed their level of happiness to check whether it is still the same or it has declined. During the evaluation, majority of respondents reported a decline in their level of happiness.

They noticed that people stopped being happy because they keep wanting more. Some got easily used to the said changes while others stopped having new positive experiences. Researchers also found that only a few of the respondents tend to appreciate what they already have and these people were able to maintain higher level of happiness for a long time.

After thorough analysis, Sheldon and his team of researchers suggested a new model of happiness that can help individuals live a fuller life. Here’s what they proposed: For one to sustain happiness, they should keep having new positive changes and be thankful of what they have at the moment.

It’s Not all about New Purchases

They say there is no constant thing in this world but change. New positive experiences make people happy. A new home, a new car, an adventure to a far-flung place, a baby, or a job promotion – these are few of the things that give a person a feeling of pleasure and glee. Researchers suggest that for one to live happier, they need constantly experience new positive changes. However, Sheldon explained that the best life changes don’t necessarily refer to new purchases. Even though new possessions can heighten one’s feeling of happiness, it has to be experienced and appreciated everyday so it brings lasting effects on happiness. He also added that relying on many purchases to make one feel better can lead to addiction which can result to more conflicts.   

Source of this article:

University of Missouri-Columbia, News Releases, May 07, 2012


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