September 30, 2011 § Leave a comment
According to Dr Nick Powdthavee’s book ‘The Happiness Equation’, postive experiences bring less life satisfaction than negative experiences bring life dissatisfaction. In other words, one good experience does not make up for one bad one. He explains that this is because we spend more time thinking about the negative experience. If an experience is focused on, its emotional impact will be greater.
We can use this idea to promote happiness by taking the time to dwell on our good experiences.
Winning a tennis match (see book for reference) is satisfying only momentarily, despite all the hard work in the build up to winning it. The feeling after losing the tennis match lasts longer and motivates you into working harder to win next time.
Perhaps the value, then, in the dissatisfaction from losing is to motivate – while the fleeting satisfaction from winning is fleeting because perhaps it does not motivate you.
That can’t be completely true though. There are many people who lose confidence through their failures and consequently become unmotivated… Maybe there is another existing study about this.
My idea is to have a place where people are given the space to dwell on their achievements rather than failures. A place of calm where people have the space to process, to clear their mind, somewhere without distractions o technology – perhaps somewhere that they can reinterpret their postive past achievements or joyful experiences through an art form – dance, paint, music, poetry… Anything that feels right to them.