We’re always trying to be nice to other people and seem to always be in good spirits. But sometimes we can’t help but feel a twist in the pit of our stomach. Some people try to heal their pain by eating, others participate sports or watch TV. But you know, sometimes it just doesn’t work. Researchers from Iowa State University finally found out the secret to happiness.
We at Bright Side do our best to uplift your mood every day. And we hope this article will make your life happier!
To find the secret to happiness, scientists from Iowa State University chose 3 ways to treat other people that were supposed to make people happy. Research participants were told to walk around a building for 12 minutes. They had to simply look at people they encountered and think of them saying to themselves, “I want you to be happy,” or “I understand your feelings,” or “I’m better off than you are.” Let’s take a look which strategy produced the best results.
“I’m better off than you are.”
The first of the strategies is called downward social comparison. Participants from that group were told to think about how they were better off than each of the people they saw.
This actually turned out to be the least efficient strategy. This group had the worst results and the participants’ mood hardly changed. It was believed that social comparison can be a competitive strategy and boost the desire for self-improvement. But the researchers themselves admit that competitive mindsets can cause anxiety, stress, and even depression.
“I understand your feelings.”
Interconnectedness is concentrating on other people and thinking about how we’re connected to each other. It was suggested that participants think about the hopes and feelings they could share.
The results showed that interconnectedness was pretty successful, and the mood of the people of that group didn’t change as much as the researchers expected. But after the experiment the participants felt more relaxed and empathetic toward the others.
“I want you to be happy.”
The third strategy called, “loving-kindness,” was the winning one. Participants were told to think to themselves, “I wish for this person to be happy.” They were encouraged to really mean it as they were thinking it. “Walking around and offering kindness to others in the world reduces anxiety and increases happiness and feelings of social connection,” says Douglas Gentile, professor of psychology.
This simple strategy produced the best results. Participants who practiced wishing others well experienced an increase in happiness, and felt more empathetic, caring, connected, and less anxious. The researchers believe that this strategy can easily be incorporated into our daily activities and it definitely doesn’t take that much time.
Do you have your own secret to becoming happier? Don’t hesitate to share it with the world in the comments below!