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Increasing well-being through small and frequent activities

An interesting finding from psychology is that people tend to adapt, quite quickly, to major life events; any initial increase in happiness goes back to previous levels. What this means is that people don?t achieve lasting happiness from the things that happen to them. However, new research shows that increasing the frequency of smaller positive events such as exercising or attending a religious ceremony may help to overcome this propensity to adapt to life events, and produce a lasting change in personal well-being.

Two studies were carried out.  The first asked people about their happiness both before entering and upon leaving a place of worship (the researchers included 12 different religious denominations). The second study questioned people?s happiness before and after a gym or yoga session.  Both of the studies found that those who were leaving the place of worship or exercise class were happier.  The study also revealed that the more times the person attended, either a service or exercise class, during the previous month the happier they were.

The study, carried out by Daniel Mochon and colleagues, supports the idea that people can increase their well-being and that this is done through the cumulative effect of small positive experiences.  Previous studies have revealed that major life events such as winning the lottery do not effect happiness long term, and now this study supports the idea that well-being can be increased through much simpler and more frequent activities. To read the article click here


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