This week in positive psychology: The “happiness equation” says lower your expectations

Happiness research

Lower your expectations – A study out of University College London came up with a “happiness equation” encapsulating their findings: we’re happier when we do better than expected. The context here was playing a game, first in the lab and then on an app.

Hit the beach – together – A study out of Uppsala University in Sweden found evidence for “collective restoration,” the idea that the happiness boost of vacation is amplified when more people take vacation at the same time. More vacationers correlated with a drop in anti-depressant prescriptions.

Lighter people aren’t lighter – Research published in PLOS ONE found that people who lost 5% or more of their weight over four years were more likely to be depressed than people who stayed within 5% of their weight. The study looked at around 2,000 overweight and obese people.

Don’t ignore stress – A study out of the University of Cincinnati found that students who are less happy are also more stressed and less emotionally close to others. But not many were taking action: while 61 percent had high stress, 72 percent didn’t use stress-management techniques often.

Outside academia:

Play – A study from the Children’s Play Policy Forum found that play coincides with better mental health and emotional well-being for children. School playgrounds correlated with better academic skills, attitudes and behaviors, social skills, and adjustment to school life. The effects of play also spread to the broader community, with playgrounds linked to family well-being and community spirit.

Photo by Flickr user KaiChanVong

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