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Email Us: info@wellwellusa.com

Happiness Requires Constant Work

Feelgood Benefits Do Accrue

The habits required for lasting happiness.

By John Salak –

The secret is out. People can learn to be happy and reap some feel-good benefits along the way. But lasting gains from happiness only accrue if people practice being, well, happy.

This revelation comes from Britain’s University of Bristol. Researchers there had previously confirmed that the university’s ‘Science of Happiness’ course had discovered that teaching students the latest scientific studies on happiness created a marked improvement in their well-being. The institution’s latest study, however, took insights on the impact of happiness further when it discovered that the related well-being boosts are short-lived unless the evidence-informed habits are kept up over time.

These habits taught through the course include gratitude, exercise, meditation and journaling.

“It’s like going to the gym — we can’t expect to do one class and be fit forever. Just as with physical health, we have to continuously work on our mental health, otherwise, the improvements are temporary,” reported the study’s senior author Professor Bruce Hood.

The university launched its happiness course in 2018. No exams or coursework are involved. Students instead are taught what the latest peer-reviewed studies in psychology and neuroscience report what makes people happy.

The happiness studies and practices had an effect as students reported a 10 to 15 improvement in well-being while taking the course. Unfortunately, only those who kept working at what they were taught maintained their improved well-being two years after the class concluded.

“This study shows that just doing a course—be that at the gym, a meditation retreat or on an evidence-based happiness course like ours—is just the start: you must commit to using what you learn on a regular basis,” Hood said.

The results, of course, beg the question of exactly what keeps people happy. The answer: being a nice person, among other things.

“Much of what we teach revolves around positive psychology interventions that divert your attention away from yourself, by helping others, being with friends, gratitude or meditating,” Hood explained. “This is the opposite of the current ‘self-care’ doctrine, but countless studies have shown that getting out of our own heads helps gets us away from negative ruminations which can be the basis of so many mental health problems.”





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