A study by psychologists from the University of Zurich and the University of Radbud (Netherlands), published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, shows that pleasure in short-term pleasant activities is just as necessary for a happy life as self-control, writes Science Daily.
Everyone in life has goals that require time and effort: to get rid of the belly, eat less sweets, learn a foreign language ... What tactics helps to achieve what was planned more effectively? The prevailing opinion is that when it comes to a long distance, you need strict self-control and the ability to give up momentary pleasures. This is the only way to achieve specific goals and, more broadly, a happy and successful life. The authors of a new study believe that not everything is so simple, and the ability to indulge in hedonism is necessary for a sense of well-being no less than self-control.
The researchers developed a questionnaire to measure the ability of their respondents to hedonism, that is, the ability to focus on immediate needs and indulge in short-term pleasures. The results were intended to show how people differ in their ability to pursue hedonistic goals and how this ability is related to general well-being.
It is believed that hedonism, as opposed to self-control, is an easier option. In reality, it is not easy to indulge in pleasures because of distracting thoughts about activities that should be done instead of rest. Judging by the polls, many, lying on the couch, instead of relaxing, reproach themselves that it would be better to go in for sports. These thoughts of long-term goals undermine the immediate need for rest. Those who are able to fully enjoy themselves in these situations tend to have a higher sense of well-being in general, not just in the short term, and are less prone to depression and anxiety.
However, sitting on the couch, eating pastries, and going to the bar with friends is not a tactic that automatically brings happiness. The pursuit of hedonistic and long-term goals should not contradict each other. Both are important as research has shown, both complement each other as a means of achieving well-being and good health. Therefore, it is necessary to find the right balance to combine both in everyday life.
This issue of balance has become an urgent problem for many lately: since the pandemic has caused people to work from home, the environment that was previously associated with recreation has become associated with work. The boundaries between work and leisure have blurred, thoughts of upcoming business have become more persistent, and this has affected our ability to relax. How to enjoy the downtime to the fullest in this new reality? It is necessary to consciously plan and set boundaries between periods of work and periods of doing nothing: it is easier to separate one from the other and get maximum pleasure from idleness.