28 Apr Happiness Comes From Making Others Feel Good Rather Than Ourselves, According To A New Study
via Forbes by Mark Travers
Martin Luther King Jr. once said the “surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”
New research published by a team of psychologists at the University of Missouri-Columbia suggests that King’s words are as true today as they were a half-century ago — that our own happiness is, in large part, influenced by the kindness and generosity we show to others.
“Americans are guaranteed the right to ‘pursue happiness’ for themselves,” say the researchers, led by Liudmila Titova and Kennon Sheldon. “But might they be better off if they pursued happiness for others? We compared the two strategies, showing that, ironically, the second pursuit brings more personal happiness than the first.”
To arrive at this conclusion, the authors asked a group of research participants to engage in a series of behaviors and thought experiments that pitted acts of self-directed happiness against those aimed at improving the happiness of others. In one study, participants were approached on the street after parking their cars. They were given a few quarters by a research assistant and were asked to either feed their own parking meters or the meters of an adjacent car. The researchers then asked participants how happy they felt. Interestingly, people who fed others’ meters showed a greater boost in happiness than those who fed their own meters, despite not knowing who they were helping…
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