Scientists have found that to achieve happiness we must be able, focusing on long-term goals periodically to “lose self control” and to allocate time for short-term enjoyable activities. The study is published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
There is an opinion that internal self-control helps a person to prioritize long term goals over short-term pleasures and those who are fluent in other, more successful and happy in life.
Indeed, people who manage thanks to the self-control to achieve goals — for example, to gain good form, reduce the consumption of sugar or to learn a foreign language — they look happy and satisfied.
Results of a psychological study of scientists from the University of Zurich in Switzerland and University Radboud in the Netherlands showed that the same feeling of happiness as the realized self-control, brings pleasure to the short-term enjoyable activities, when people do not think about long term goals.
According to scientists, themselves rest on the couch, enjoying delicious food or entertainment do not bring happiness if the person continues to be in a state of internal self-control. To achieve happiness you need to periodically go to the state, which the authors called hedonism.
“Of course, self-control is important — presented in a press release quotes first author of the study Catherine Berneker (Katharina Bernecker), a motivational psychologist from the University of Zurich. But need to pay as much attention to hedonism, or short-term pleasure. The ability to experience pleasure or enjoyment, without the distraction of Intrusive thoughts, contributes to a happy and fulfilled life at least as well as successful self-control.”
Scientists have developed a questionnaire that evaluated the level of hedonism of respondents — the ability to obtain short-term pleasure without compromising to meet their basic needs. They tried to understand the place of hedonism in their lives and how it relates to their well-being.
It turned out that those who have more time to rest, but is distracted by obsessive thoughts about what they should do instead, less happy than those who are allocated to stay less time, but in moments of relaxation, not thinking about anything. In addition, the latter are less prone to anxiety, sadness and stress, so they are often more successful in long-term endeavors.
“For example, lying on the couch, you can continue to think about sports, which you do not, — says the second author Daniela Becker (Daniela Becker) from the Institute of behavioral Sciences University Radboud. — These thoughts about contradicting the rest long-term goals undermines the ability to relax.”
Unfortunately, if just more lying on the couch, eating delicious food and going to the pub with friends, not even thinking about anything, automatically do not become happier, the authors note.
“Hedonic and long-term goals should not contradict each other — emphasizes Berneker. — Our research shows that they both are important and complement each other in achieving well-being and health. It is important to find the right balance in daily life”.
And for that, scientists need to learn how to plan your holiday and free yourself for a time of rest from all other worries and thoughts.
“It was always assumed that hedonism, in contrast to self-control, is more a slight variant of pleasure — continues Berneker. — Really enjoy the hedonistic choice not just because of distracting thoughts.”
This is particularly true today, when the conditions of remote work for many people the environment where they usually rested, suddenly became associated with the work. In this situation psychologists recommend consciously to plan periods of rest and limit yourself to that time from all other activities.