Increase Happiness by Getting Out of Your Comfort Zones

If you ever feel that you’re in a rut then do something to get you out of your comfort zone. A new study reveals the importance for expanding one’s boundaries to increase one’s happiness.

Going out of your comfort zone doesn’t need to be skydiving, public speaking, or anything extreme. It all depends on you and what you need to do to expand yourself.

An increasingly large body of research in social psychology has underscored the power of brief situational interventions in promoting purposeful change. The present research contributes to the literature on positive psychology interventions (PPIs) by testing a novel volitional intervention that encourages people to engage in activities ‘outside their comfort zone.’ Participants were randomly assigned either to a condition that encouraged them to engage in an activity outside of their comfort zone over the following two weeks or to a control condition that encouraged them to keep a record of their daily activities. The intervention boosted the life satisfaction of people who were relatively less happy at baseline, with exploratory analyses tentatively suggesting benefits strongest among people who went outside their comfort zone by helping others. Discussion centers on the potential of behavioral ‘stretch’ interventions to promote positive change and well-being among people dissatisfied with their life.

Read more.

Volunteering Increases Happiness

person studying

People who volunteer tend to be happier than those that don’t. Is that because happier people volunteering or that volunteering can make you happy? It turns out that volunteering does increase your happiness. Researchers found that the average volunteer gets a happiness equivalent to a salary boost of $1,100 USD.

So volunteering helps the world and it helps you too. So what are you waiting for? Go volunteer!

Evidence of the correlation between volunteering and wellbeing has been gradually accumulating, but to date this research has had limited success in accounting for the factors that are likely to drive self-selection into volunteering by ‘happier’ people. To better isolate the impact that volunteering has on people’s wellbeing, we explore nationally representative UK household datasets with an extensive longitudinal component, to run panel analysis which controls for the previous higher or lower levels of SWB that volunteers report. Using first-difference estimation within the British Household Panel Survey and Understanding Society longitudinal panel datasets (10 waves spanning about 20 years), we are able to control for higher prior levels of wellbeing of those who volunteer, and to produce the most robust quasi-causal estimates to date by ensuring that volunteering is associated not just with a higher wellbeing a priori, but with a positive change in wellbeing. Comparison of equivalent wellbeing values from previous studies shows that our analysis is the most realistic and conservative estimate to date of the association between volunteering and subjective wellbeing, and its equivalent wellbeing value of £911 per volunteer per year on average to compensate for the wellbeing increase associated with volunteering. It is our hope that these values can be incorporated into decision-making at the policy and practitioner level, to ensure that the societal benefits provided by volunteering are better understood and internalised into decisions.

Read more.

In 2019 Aim for Satisfaction Instead of Happiness

happiness

At the start of the year people make new goals for themselves, often those are about improving one’s life. This year instead of focusing on happiness as a goal you should consider thinking longer-term and think about satisfaction. Recent research points out that happiness itself is something that can be attained once one is out of poverty (fortunately this is most people in the developed world), so what people find lacking is a larger longer-term goal: and this is satisfaction.

The key here is memory. Satisfaction is retrospective. Happiness occurs in real time. In Kahneman’s work, he found that people tell themselves a story about their lives, which may or may not add up to a pleasing tale. Yet, our day-to-day experiences yield positive feelings that may not advance that longer story, necessarily. Memory is enduring. Feelings pass. Many of our happiest moments aren’t preserved—they’re not all caught on camera but just happen. And then they’re gone.
Take going on vacation, for example. According to the psychologist, a person who knows they can go on a trip and have a good time but that their memories will be erased, and that they can’t take any photos, might choose not to go after all. The reason for this is that we do things in anticipation of creating satisfying memories to reflect on later. We’re somewhat less interested in actually having a good time.

Read more.

For Happier Cities get More Cyclists

a couple, bicycles

Cities where people cycle regularly are happier than cities in which cycling is rare. The evidence continues to mount that building good cycling infrastructure will improve the life of everybody in a city – regardless if they ride or not. Urban planners already know that designing cities for pedestrians and cyclists make for better environments and now the on the ground happiness can be traced to it too. Get out there and ride a bike or ask your local politicians to make riding safer.

In Bogotá in 2017, for the first time, there were more survey respondents using bicycles than cars – 9 percent vs. 8 percent – with a satisfaction rate of 85 percent for bicycles against 75 percent for private vehicles. Only 19 percent users of the city’s bus rapid transit system, TransMilenio, reported being satisfied with its service.

The data from Colombia is consistent with international evidence.

A survey of 13,000 people in the United States by researchers from Clemson University in 2014 showed that cyclists were the happiest commuters.

Similarly, a survey of 1,000 people in London showed that 91 percent of the respondents bicycling to work found it satisfactory, while only 74 percent of bus commuters and 73 percent of Underground users were satisfied with their daily travel experience.

In the Global Happiness Report 2017, countries with high bicycle use tend to among the happiest overall, like the Netherlands (ranked sixth; daily bike use: 43 percent), Denmark (ranked third; daily bike user: 30 percent) and Finland (ranked first; daily bike use: 28 percent).

Read more.
Thanks to Delaney!

The Happiest Workers are Self-Employed

conversation

It’s Wednesday my dudes, which means you’re likely midway through your work week. If you’re looking for a boost in productivity and happiness you may want to consider working for yourself. People who are self-employed report being happier than people who work for bosses in a recent in study about workplace happiness. Of course, being self-employed isn’t for everyone but if you’re looking for a change maybe it’s time to strike out on your own!

Professor Warr said: “Professional workers who are self-employed really value the autonomy they have. They have the freedom to innovate, express their own views, have influence beyond their own role and compete with other companies and people.

“They really get to use their own expertise, so don’t seem to mind working long hours. They can find meeting high standards really fulfilling.”

Co-author Professor Ilke Inceoglu added: “Being engaged in their jobs makes people feel energised and pleased with their own contribution.

“Measuring how engaged people are in their work is therefore a really useful way to gauge their wellbeing and shows we must move beyond just looking at job satisfaction.”

Read more.
Read the full study.

Scroll To Top
%d bloggers like this: