Positive emotion influences a depressive-to-happy state
New research suggests that promoting positive emotions can positively influence a depressive-to-happy state (defined as increasing levels of happiness and decreasing levels of depression across the affective profile model), as well as increasing life satisfaction.
“We examined 8 ‘happiness-increasing’ strategies which were first identified by Tkach & Lyubomirsky in 2006”, says Danilo Garcia from the University of Gothenburg and the researcher leading the investigation.
8 Happiness-Inducing Strategies
- Social Affiliation (for example, “Support and encourage friends”)
- Partying and Clubbing (for example, “Drink alcohol”)
- Mental Control (for example, “Try not to think about being unhappy”)
- Instrumental Goal Pursuit (for example, “Study”)
- Passive Leisure (for example, “Surf the internet”)
- Active Leisure (for example, “Exercise”)
- Religion (for example, “Seek support from faith”)
- Direct Attempts (for example, “Act happy and smile”)
The study, titled “The affective profiles in the USA: happiness, depression, life satisfaction, and happiness-increasing strategies“, followed 1,400 participants who self-reported their strategies and their happiness levels. The researchers found that individuals with different affective profiles did indeed differ in their strategies and reported happiness levels. For example, individuals classified as self-fulfilling (high positive affect, low negative affect) were the ones who showed lower levels of depression, tended to be happier, and were more satisfied with their lives.
Happiness in this study can be usefully understood as the opposite of depression. Life satisfaction refers instead to a comparison process in which individuals assess the quality of their lives on the basis of their own self-imposed standards.
Researchers found that strategies related to agentic (e.g. autonomy, responsibility, self-acceptance, intern locus of control, self-control), communal (e.g., social affiliation), and spiritual (e.g., religion) values were positively related to a ‘self-fulfilling’ profile.
“Self-awareness based on the self, our relation to others, and our place on earth might lead to greater happiness and mental harmony within the individual,” says Garcia.