Can I make myself happy?

Can I make myself happy?

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we were able to take full responsibility for our own well-being and make ourselves happy?

There are different exercises available which have proven their effectiveness in increasing people’s well-being. However, which are the most effective? Almost all mood-enhancing exercises are most effective if repeated regularly (Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2006). However, with our lives being stressful and time being scarce, how can we stay motivated to do such exercises several times?

Sheldon & Lyubomirsky (2006) hypothesized that people are more likely to stay motivated doing happiness-enhancing exercises if they identify the exercise as pleasant and coherent with one’s ideas. Two mood-enhancing exercises were included. In the “expressing-gratitude-condition”, participants had to write about things they were grateful for. In the “best-possible-self-condition”, participants illustrated how they imagined their perfect future. Participants first completed a questionnaire about their mood, then they performed the exercise and were then asked how motivated they were to reperform the exercise in the upcoming weeks. Two and four weeks later, participants again completed the mood questionnaire and were asked each time if they still performed the exercise regularly. The findings suggest that people are more likely to stay motivated doing mood-enhancing exercises if these are enjoyable and coherent with one’s personal values and at the same time this also makes them more effective (Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2006).

This suggests that you should find an exercise which is not proven to be effective for many people, but which corresponds with YOUR own ideas of happiness.

Reference: Sheldon, K. M., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2006). How to increase and sustain positive emotion: The effects of expressing gratitude and visualizing best possible selves. The journal of positive psychology1(2), 73-82.

Written by Mariama Freitag

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