Happiness: What Works?

Click here for the article published by Nature Human Behaviour. The authors’ systematic review explored popular strategies for increasing happiness. Analyzing media articles, they identified five commonly recommended techniques: expressing gratitude, enhancing sociability, exercising, practising mindfulness/meditation, and increasing nature exposure. Then, they reviewed scientific literature and found 57 well-designed studies testing these strategies on subjective …

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social media loneliness anxiety depression Dr Jonathan Haverkampf psychotherapy psychiatry

Cutting back on social media reduces anxiety, depression, loneliness

Researchers found college students who tried to cut their social media use to 30 minutes per day scored significantly lower for anxiety, depression, loneliness and fear of missing out at the end of the two-week experiment and when compared to the control group.

Spread Joy: Sharing Positivity Helps Fight Loneliness and Negativity

Click here for the article published by Neurocience News. Did you know that sharing positive feelings with others can help alleviate loneliness-related negativity? It’s true! According to a recent study by researchers at the University of Nebraska, individuals who regularly share positive emotional experiences with their loved ones experienced a lower correlation between loneliness and …

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People in historically rice-farming areas are less happy and socially compare more than people in wheat-farming areas.

Using two nationally representative surveys, we find that people in China’s historically rice-farming areas are less happy than people in wheat areas. This is a puzzle because the rice area is more interdependent, and relationships are an important predictor of happiness. We explore how the interdependence of historical rice farming may have paradoxically undermined happiness by creating more social comparison than wheat farming. We build a framework in which rice farming leads to social comparison, which makes people unhappy (especially people who are worse off). If people in rice areas socially compare more, then people’s happiness in rice areas should be more closely related to markers of social status like income. In two studies, national survey data show that income, self-reported social status, and occupational status predict people’s happiness twice as strongly in rice areas than wheat areas. In Study 3, we use a unique natural experiment comparing two nearby state farms that effectively randomly assigned people to farm rice or wheat. The rice farmers socially compare more, and farmers who socially compare more are less happy. If interdependence breeds social comparison and erodes happiness, it could help explain the paradox of why the interdependent cultures of East Asia are less happy than similarly wealthy cultures. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved)

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