Three New Finds on Happiness in 2020

Carefully picked out for you from The Journal of Positive Psychology

Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

What makes life worth living?

What leads us to happiness, fulfillment, and flourishing?

The ultimate source of happiness is within us.

— Dalai Lama

By focusing on our strengths instead of weaknesses, we build a good life.

This is the core belief of positive psychology, which concentrates on positive experiences, states, and traits. Frequent topics in positive psychology studies are happiness, love, joy, compassion, gratitude, inspiration, and resilience.

The three takeaways below are highlights on happiness from The Journal of Positive Psychology — Volume 15, 2020.

Happiness, love, and compassion as antidotes for anxiety (1)

by Amy P. Demorest (Amherst College, MA, USA)

Anxiety and anger are significantly reduced by positive emotions.

Of happiness, love, and compassion, the latter has the lowest effect.

Why? Happiness and love are built on the positive consideration of the other, with consequences such as smiling and hugging, while compassion is the result of the suffering of others.

Do happy people care about society’s problems? (2)

by Kostadin Kushlev (Georgetown University, DC, USA), Danielle M. Drummond (University of Utah, UT, USA), Samantha J. Heintzelman (Rutgers University, NJ, USA), and Ed Diener (University of Virginia, VA, USA)

If you thought that happy people are not concerned with negative current issues and that they are less likely to act on improving society because they are simply too happy in their bubble to care about others, you are in the wrong.

Happiness does not hinder caring about local or global issues. In fact, feeling good predicts more, not less, action!

Whether it’s environmental threats or social issues (local or global), happier people are more likely to take action, even if they do worry less than their unhappy peers.

How experiencing autonomy contributes to a good life (3)

by Atsushi Kukita, Jeanne Nakamura, and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Claremont Graduate University, CA, USA)

The study investigated the impact of state-level autonomy on well-being, by analyzing three of its momentary aspects: affect, engagement, and meaning.

The results suggest that autonomy predicts well-being.

Beyond what we do, we are happier when we experience higher autonomy.

As a bonus, this is how the mood of older people can be improved with music:

  • People who tend to focus more on emotions should listen to happy music.
  • People who focus less on emotions feel better after listening to sad music.

Freelance copywriter, translator, cat lover. Anxiety & depression fighter. Couch potato. Poet. Joker.

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