It is all obvious that everyone wants to remain happy but we all need to understand that achieving a state of happiness takes time and effort.
Latest research published in Springer, shows that aiming to achieve happiness can affect one’s perception of time.
Researchers found that people who pursue happiness often feel like they don’t have enough time in a day to live happily and this paradoxically makes them feel unhappy.
This whole study was investigated by Aekyong Kim and Sam Maglio.
Kim and Maglio conducted four studies in which they investigated how the pursuit of happiness as well as the state of being happy influenced people’s perception of time.
Pursuing happiness caused the participants to think of time as scare.
During this study, some of the participants were instructed to list things that would make them happy. Some participants were asked to try to make themselves feel happy while watching a dull movie about building bridges, this demonstrating happiness as goal pursuit.
The other participants came to think of happiness as a goal that they had already accomplished, achieved by watching a slapstick comedy or listing items showing that they are already happy.
Afterwards, all participants reported how much free time they felt they had.
The researchers’ main findings showed that a person’s perception of time scarcity is influenced by their pursuit of (often unattainable) happiness.
The feeling that time was scarce lessened for participants who maintained that they had attained their goal of being happy to some degree.
“Time seems to vanish amid the pursuit of happiness, but only when seen as a goal requiring continued pursuit,” explain the researchers.
According to the researchers, the findings imply that while happiness can impair positive emotions, it need not necessarily do so.
Instead, if someone believes they have achieved happiness, they are left with the time to appreciate this, for instance by keeping a gratitude journal.
The research further underscores that people have different concepts about happiness, which in turn may well influence how they perceive the time they have to achieve happiness.
The two researchers believe that given the influence that time availability has on people’s decision-making and well-being, it remains essential to understand when, why, and how they perceive and use their time differently in their pursuit of happiness and other goals.
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