Planning to be happy

The key is structuring your days in advance to include activities that are likely to make you happy.

The technical term is “prioritising positivity.”

For the study, researchers at the University of California at San Francisco and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recruited 235 participants and measured: how much they valued being happy, how much they prioritised positivity, and their overall well-being.

Perhaps surprisingly, results showed that valuing happiness was linked to lower well-being, while prioritising positivity was associated with greater well-being.

People who placed a high value on happiness (for example, strongly agreeing with the statement, “If I don’t feel happy, maybe there is something wrong with me”) were more likely to exhibit negative aspects of well-being, such as negative emotions and depression.

On the other hand, people who planned for positivity (for example, strongly agreeing with the statement, “A priority for me is experiencing happiness in everyday life”) were more inclined to experience beneficial aspects of well-being, such as positive emotions and satisfaction with life.

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