22 Jul Finding happiness…again and again and again!
by Denise Clegg for Positive Psychology News Daily
I_ã_ll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure. _ã” Mae West
We should all take Ms. West to heart when choosing positive interventions _ã” for ourselves or others _ã” according to two studies recently described by Stephen Schueller in The Journal of Positive Psychology.
Positive interventions are exercises designed to increase well-being. A 2009 meta-analysis by researchers Nancy Sin and Sonja Lyubormirsky shows that several positive interventions reliably and significantly achieve that goal and also reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
So the question becomes, you can boost your happiness, but can you sustain it?
Yes. By doing what you like and liking what you do.
They work, but do we do them?
Kennon Sheldon and Sonja Lyubormirsky_ã_s research shows you are more likely to sustain positive change by changing your actions and patterns than by improving your external circumstances. We adapt to life_ã_s gifts and losses more quickly than you might expect. But a new hobby, habit, or relationship can generate a novel stream of positive experience that is happily hard to get used to. Positive interventions are proven foundations for those kinds of new practices.
That presumes that you actually practice your new habit. Sometimes I still don_ã_t know why it seems hard to do things that 1) I know are good for me, and 2) also even feel good _ã_ but these new virtues face stiff competition from my comfortable, effortless, deeply-engrained habits.
A Structure for Choosing Positive Interventions
Stephen Schueller, who conducted his research at the University of Pennsylvania, is the first researcher to develop a structure for recommending positive interventions based on a person_ã_s preferences for prior interventions _ã_ described as _ã–similar to Netflix for movies._ã The comparison is perceptive. In an entirely unrelated effort, Netflix awarded $1 million in 2009 to a team of researchers who developed an algorithm that successfully predicted film recommendations based on a user_ã_s past preference. Pleasure is a powerful measure and paradigm….
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