Mmegi Online :: Predicting future happiness made easy
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Last Updated
Thursday 25 April 2019, 15:24 pm.
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Predicting future happiness made easy

If you are interested in knowing if your future is one that includes happiness, you need not go to the local fortune teller or ask a traditional doctor to throw his bones for you.
By Staff Writer Thu 25 Apr 2019, 22:53 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Predicting future happiness made easy








You need only take a serious look at your own personality. A recent study has shown that the actual events that bring us happiness in our life have less to do with what actually happens and more to do with our own personality and that most people do not consider their own general personality when predicting their future happiness.

In a study published in the January 2011 issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association of Psychological Science, researchers asked participants to predict how they would feel in the future. In October 2008, the researchers asked the participants how they would feel the day after the American elections if Barack Obama won.  The bulk of the participants were Obama supporters. The participants' personalities had no effect on their own predictions about their future happiness. Both people with a happier personality and those with a grumpier disposition predicted that they would be happy the day after the elections if Obama won.

On the day after the elections, the researchers gave the participants a personality test and asked them how they felt. The answers they gave about their level of happiness followed their general personality traits not their original predictions.  According to the lead researchers, Jordi Quoidbach from the University of Lieg Belgium and Elizabeth Dunn at the University of British Columbia, the study showed that most people do not include their own general personality when predicting their future happiness; the researchers call this "personality neglect".

This can impact on our lives. If, for example, you are a person who becomes upset at small mix ups and problems, if you do things in a disorganised manner, even a happy event can bring on unhappiness. If instead you are a generally happy person who is not easily upset, then you can take less time on small details and still be assured that the future event will bring you happiness.

Our general happiness it seems has an inherited aspect. A study done in 2008 at the University of Edinburgh at the Queenland Institute for Medical Research

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found that as much as 50 percent of our happiness may come down to our genes. In the study, 900 pairs of twins were tested. It was found that certain genes resulted in certain types of personality traits which made the person happier.  The particular personality traits that the researchers found included sociability, conscientiousness, and the tendency not to worry excessively. People genetically predisposed to these personality traits had a sort of guard to protect them even when bad and stressful things occurred in their lives.  The other 50 percent of our happiness is decided by external factors such as relationships, health and career. Scientists have found that there are things you can do to increase your level of happiness. Things such as avoiding comparisons with others, taking time to enjoy the small everyday good things in your life, placing money low on your priority list, making meaningful goals, and exercising, among others.

For a quick happiness pick up, researchers at Princeton and Harvard in a study published in 2009, discovered a small dose of quick thinking may be just what you need. In their study they had participants do quick fast thinking exercises such as coming up with a quick list of problem solving ideas, watching a television show in fast forward mode and reading ideas from a computer screen very quickly.

The results showed that participants experienced a feeling of elation, felt more creative and, in some instances, more powerful and energetic. The study leader, Emily Pronin, admitted they were not sure what caused this effect.

She suggested it might be as simple as people believe that when someone is thinking faster they are in a good mood, so if you're thinking faster you must be in a good mood. There is also some evidence to show that the pleasure feeling chemical dopamine may be released when we think faster.  Though the effect of the fast thinking caused happiness is fleeting, researchers believe that if done often it could spiral into a general feeling of happiness over time.

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