Fri. Mar 24th, 2023
When we are happy, we actively sabotage our good mood with grim tasks

Keeping your home neat and spotless at all times might get you labeled “neat freak” – but “super happy” might be a more accurate label.

When people voluntarily take on unpleasant tasks, such as housework, they tend to be in a particularly happy state, according to a new study on hedonism. The finding challenges an old prediction by some researchers that humans can be constant pleasure seekers. Instead, the new study suggests we may seek out fun, uplifting activities, especially when we’re in a bad or down mood. But when we are in the elevator, we tend to go for the boring and gloomy assignments.

This finding of “flexible hedonism,” reported Monday The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may seem counterintuitive as it suggests that we are sabotaging our own cheerfulness. But it refers to the idea that people tend to make sensible compromises on short-term happiness for long-term gain.

“While our data cannot tell us directly whether regular engagement in unpleasant activities predicts psychological and social adjustment five or 10 years from now, a large amount of work has consistently demonstrated the importance of sleeping, working and living in a reasonably clean and organized environment. house on mental and physical health,” said the study’s authors, led by Maxime Taquet of Harvard and Jordi Quoidbach of Pompeu Fabra University in Spain.

For the study, the researchers collected mood and activity data from more than 28,000 people who answered periodic surveys on a smartphone app. The app sampled people’s moods and current activities and came back a few hours later to gauge their next moods and new activities.

The study’s dataset, collected over 27 days, ended up containing more than half a million pieces of information. Together, it helped researchers sort activities as mood-boosting or deflating. And it also tracked how people’s moods, in turn, influenced their decisions about what activities to do next.

Unsurprisingly, some activities, such as sleeping and going to work, were most closely associated with time and day rather than mood. But others were strongly linked to mood. For example, if you met a complete stranger and want to predict how likely that person is to exercise, chat with friends, or have a drink in the next few hours, knowing her current mood would give you more information than knowing it. Saturday or whether it is 7 p.m.,” the researchers found.

In fact, the researchers found that if you start the day feeling unhappy, you’re twice as likely to engage in a mood-boosting activity, such as walking or exercising, than if you wake up in a happy mood. And those who start out in a good mood are 30 percent more likely to spend the afternoon doing things like cleaning their apartment.

The link between mood and activities remained firm as researchers looked at whether cycles of mood or activity could explain the data.

“People’s current mood changes (sometimes doubles or triples) the likelihood that they will later engage in certain types of activity,” the authors conclude.

The researchers say they need to do more work to parse the compound. For example, moods may affect energy levels and focus, changing a person’s interests or ability to perform certain tasks.

But given the new data, the authors speculate that “our personal well-being and survival potential as a species may crucially depend on our ability to overcome the pull of short-term happiness gains to maximize long-term well-being.”

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences2016. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1519998113 (About DOIs).

Frame image by 20th Century Fox, YouTube

By akfire1

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