What should you do to be happier? focus on yourself or on others?

What should you do to be happier? focus on yourself or on others?

via the Greater Good by Elizabeth Hopper

If we want to become happier, should we focus on ourselves or focus on others?

Prior research suggests that we may benefit more from helping and giving to others. But, at the same time, too much of a focus on others can sometimes lead to burnout and exhaustion. Now, new research suggests that we might want to pursue a mix of both strategies—each of which can boost our well-being in slightly different ways.

In a study published in the journal Emotion, 263 American participants received instructions on their smartphone daily for 10 days, to perform one of three activities. One group was assigned to engage in moral deeds (such as giving to charity or helping someone else), one group to think moral thoughts (such as thinking good things about someone else or hoping for someone else’s success), and one group to do something kind for themselves (such as relaxing or treating themselves to a nice meal). On five of the study days, participants were instructed to complete their assigned practice; on the other five days, they were given no instructions.

Each night, participants filled out surveys of their happiness, their life satisfaction, their sense of purpose in life, and how connected they felt to others. The surveys also asked participants how moral and virtuous they felt, how exhausted they were, and how much they felt different emotions, including gratitude and elevation (the feeling of inspiration that comes from witnessing someone else’s good deed).

The researchers then compared people’s responses on days when they engaged in the practices to days when they did not—and found that the practices had a wide range of benefits. Most notably, all three practices led participants to report greater happiness and life satisfaction, elevation, and closeness with others that day.

But certain practices had particular benefits…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE