by Conscious Reminder
When you feel down, you definitely have your own way of lifting your spirit and dealing with the stress. For example, you may have a drink with your friends, or walk for some time in nature, and even travel somewhere.
However, it actually looks like doing things in order to improve your personal happiness, won’t be the only possible way in which you will feel better.
According to one psychology professor, named Douglas Gentile, walking around, together with offering kindness, will reduce your anxiety and increase your happiness.
This is a very simple strategy for which you won’t need much time. It can be incorporated in everyday activities.
His words actually refer to some results which are from research from recently. The research has been conducted by Gentile, a senior psychology lecturer named Dawn Sweet, and a graduate student of psychology, named Lanmiao He, at the University of the Iowa State. They published their study in the Journal of Happiness Studies.
The three researchers examined three strategy types a person could use in order to boost happiness and manage the levels of stress. It involved some college students that were supposed to walk for 12 minutes around some building, trying one of those three strategies.
The three strategies are:
- Interconnectedness – Those that participated were supposed to look at others and guess whether those people were connected with one another. They also thought about the feelings and hopes that these people could share, or even if they could take similar classes, for example.
- Downward social comparison – Those that participated were supposed to look at others around them, thinking about what possible ways they could actually be much better than them too.
- Loving-kindness – Here, the participants were supposed to look at others around them and think sincerely to themselves the following: “I wish for this person to be happy.”
The three researchers also involved a so-called control group which consisted of individuals that were supposed to watch others around them, observing and describing their appearance.
These group members noticed the clothing and the textures and colors of their clothes. They were also supposed to notice if those people were wearing accessories or makeup.
All the participants in the research were examined prior to, and after the entire experiment, with the main purpose to measure the well-being, connectedness, compassion, and stress levels, and compare each of the strategies with them.
When the study was finished, the researchers actually came to the conclusion that those students that used the so-called interconnectedness strategy have been more connected and compassionate.
The others that wished well and happiness to those around them looked much happier. Moreover, they had much higher connectedness levels and were far more compassionate. The levels of stress were quite lower too.
Contrary to the positive results, those students that were supposed to make downward social compassion with other people around them were less caring and compassionate and even less connected. Also, the experiment has not brought any benefits to them. They had worse results.
“At its core, downward social comparison is a competitive strategy. That’s not to say it can’t have some benefit, but competitive mindsets have been linked to stress, anxiety, and depression.”
Moreover, Gentile reminded that social media definitely makes comparing with other people impossible to stop. He said:
“It is almost impossible not to make comparisons on social media. Our study didn’t test this. But we often feel envy, jealousy, anger or disappointment in response to what we see on social media. And those emotions disrupt our sense of well-being.”
As per Gentile, the strategy of comparing is actually good when people would like to learn new things or when they need to choose one thing between two different things. However, this isn’t the best approach for lifting a person’s spirit.
The second strategy, called a downward spiral strategy, has not been efficient and has not led towards improvements in the general happiness of the participants. And the third one, the so-called loving-kindness strategy, had incredibly positive effects on the people with various personalities.
According to the results of the study, the kindness and love strategy is definitely the most helpful and effective approach for lifting the spirits of a person, as the scientists concluded. So, when we feel down, we could try using this approach.
∼If you like our article, give Conscious Reminder a thumbs up, and help us spread LOVE & LIGHT!∼