What is the secret to happiness? Is it simply experiencing pleasant emotions most of the time? Actually, according to Aristotle, the best way to be happy is to experience the emotions that you want to experience, whether positive or negative. So, do you?
On a scale of 1 (never) to 5 (most of the time), how often do you experience emotions in each of the following four groups?
(a) Love, affection, trust, empathy and compassion
(b) Anger, contempt, hostility and hatred
(c) Interest, curiosity, excitement and enthusiasm
(d) Passion, calmness, relaxation, relief and contentment
Now – on the same 1-5 scale – how often do you want to experience each of these four types of emotions? The greater the similarity between your two sets of scores, the happier you are likely to be, and the less likely you are to show symptoms of depression.
These were the findings of a recent study, led by psychologist Maya Tamir, of more than 2,000 participants in eight countries (USA, Brazil, China, Germany, Ghana, Israel, Poland and Singapore).
These results flatly contradict most modern-day happiness gurus, who suggest constantly accentuating the positive. Instead, it seems Aristotle was right: happiness comes from feeling not just the emotions that are “good”, but those that are right.
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