Small joys – Great happiness

Many people pursue big goals in life. We believe that once we’ve won that long-awaited medal, reached our desired weight, or received that hard-earned promotion, we’ll be happier than ever. And that can be true. However, we run the risk of overlooking the small pleasures of life while we are focused on the big goals. As it turns out, these are of equal importance to our sense of happiness.

Two psychologists, Katharina Bernecker of the University of Zurich and Daniela Becker of Radbound University in Nijmegen, developed a questionnaire and used it to measure people’s ability to enjoy life. They examined how well the respondents were able to meet their immediate needs and enjoy doing so without being slowed down by thoughts of other obligations, for example. Those who know how to satisfy their everyday needs without a guilty conscience rate their own well-being and general life satisfaction more positively on average. A high level of self-discipline among participants was also associated with a higher perceived sense of well-being – but to a lesser extent. In addition, it can be said that enjoyment increased the better the subjects were able to relax in their free time.

As always, balance seems particularly desirable. Here’s the balance between long-term goals and short-term enjoyment. Celebrate the next career step, but don’t forget to enjoy the walk to the fullest during your lunch break.

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