The “you and I” of happiness: Investigating the long-term impact of self- and other-focused happiness-enhancing activities

Maria Saeaeksjaervi, Katarina Hellén, Pieter Desmet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It is commonly known in the positive psychology literature that people who want to increase their
happiness ought to engage in so-called happiness-enhancing activities. Building on this stream of research, work that emphasizes the duality of happiness (affect vs. meaning) is introduced in order to propose a new conceptualization of happiness activities. The new conceptualization distinguishes between self- and other-focused happiness activities, and argues for the importance of other-focused activities over self-focused ones. Results from a six-week long study show that other-focused happiness activities consistently outperformed self-focused ones in terms of raising participants’ levels of happiness. Although self-focused happiness activities also increased happiness, by showing increases over time relative to participants’ baseline level, other-focused happiness activities
consistently outperformed such increases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-630
Number of pages8
JournalPsychology & Marketing
Volume34
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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