A recent study led by Dr. Paul Hanel from the Department of Psychology has uncovered the significant impact of personal values on daily well-being. The study, conducted in three countries and published in the Journal of Personality, provides valuable insights into the relationship between individuals’ values and their happiness.
The findings reveal that individuals who prioritize performance over enjoyment tend to experience lower levels of satisfaction the following day. On the other hand, those who prioritize independence report a remarkable 13% boost in happiness, along with improved sleep and overall life satisfaction.
Participants who focused on relaxation and pursuing their hobbies recorded an average well-being boost of 8%, accompanied by a notable 10% reduction in stress and anxiety.
This groundbreaking research, conducted in India, Turkey, and the UK, delved into how different values impact daily happiness. The study underscores the importance of achieving a balanced life and taking time to enjoy personal pursuits and individual goals.
Dr. Hanel explains, “There is no benefit to well-being in prioritizing achievement over fun and autonomy. This research shows that there are real benefits to having a balanced life and taking time to focus on enjoying ourselves and following individual goals.”
The study’s results hold true across various nationalities, with “hedonism” and “self-direction” values consistently leading to increased happiness. Intriguingly, “achievement” and “conformity” values showed no impact on happiness.
While achievement-oriented values may still play a role in happiness, particularly when tied to job satisfaction or work-life balance, the study highlights the importance of freedom and individual values in achieving a fulfilling and balanced life.
Professor Greg Maio from the University of Bath, a collaborator on the study, explains, “People often spend most of their days working hard for their daily income, studies, and careers. Against this backdrop, where achievement-oriented values have ring-fenced a great portion of our time, we found that it helps to value freedom and other values just enough to bring in balance and recovery.”
The study’s implications extend to mental health provision and therapy, suggesting that prioritizing happiness may be just as crucial as reducing anxiety and stress.
In a world where the pursuit of achievement often takes center stage, this research reminds us of the importance of finding joy in the journey and embracing our individual aspirations for a more balanced and happier life.