Our happiest moments are made better when:
1) We share them with others and,
2) They respond supportively.
In a series of five studies we examined the relationship between sharing positive experiences and positive affect using a diary method (Study 1) and laboratory manipulations (Studies 2 and 3). All of these studies demonstrated that sharing the positive experience heightened its impact on positive affect. In Study 4, we conducted a four-week journal study in which the experimental participants kept a journal of grateful experiences and shared them with a partner twice a week. Control participants either kept a journal of grateful experience (without sharing), or kept a journal of class learnings and shared it with a partner. Those who shared their positive experiences increased in positive affect, happiness, and life satisfaction over the course of four weeks. Study 5 showed that those who received an “active-constructive” response to good news (enthusiastic support) expressed more positive affect than participants in all other conditions, indicating that the response of the listener is important. In sum, our findings suggest that positive affect, happiness, and life satisfaction reach a peak only when participants share their positive experiences and when the relationship partner provides an active-constructive response.
Source: “A boost of positive affect: The perks of sharing positive experiences” from Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
Want to be happier? One of the most thoroughly tested ways is to keep a gratitude journal. You might be able to amplify that by incorporating the above. Twice a week, share your journal with others.
Want to help your friends be happier? First, don’t be a conversational narcissist. And here’s how to respond to their good news supportively.
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