Jeremy Dean at the consistently great PsyBlog lays out for scientifically proven ways to best to savor (or dampen) a good mood. Which ones work best?
- Positive mental time travel: Happy memories or looking forward to something
- Being present: Not letting your mind wander and being absorbed in the moment.
Kinda ironic. Dean explains:
Quoidbach et al. found that positive mental time travel and being present were most strongly associated with heightened pleasure. The interesting thing is that these are opposite strategies: one involves focusing on the here and now while the other involves drifting off somewhere else.
The fact that both work is probably because most people feel happy enough the majority of the time and, if they don’t, they can wander off in their mind somewhere else fun.
So that’s our feelings in the moment, but what about our thoughts, our evaluations of how we’re doing: our life satisfaction? The best savouring strategy for increasing our life satisfaction was capitalising. According to this research there’s nothing better than celebrating our wins for helping us feel our lives are going well.
On the other hand fault-finding and letting the mind wander to negative events are most likely to reduce our satisfaction with life.
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