One Change That Could Make You a Happier Person [image]

Professor Timothy Church

Professor Timothy Church

Timothy Church, Professor of counseling psychology and associate Dean of research in the College of Education at Washington State University recently had a study published in the the Journal of Research in Personality. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation. In this research it was found that when a human being acts extroverted, it leads to more positive feelings across several different cultures. But, people also report more upbeat behavior when they feel free to be themselves. Professor Church states “We are not the first to show that being more extroverted in daily behavior can lead to more positive moods, however we are probably the first to extend this finding to a variety of cultures.

Psychology Professor William Fleeson of Wake Forest University did a study in 2012 which had similar results. He found that in the US introverts experience greater levels of happiness when they engage in extroverted behaviors, such as smiling at a passer by or calling an old girlfriend.

This does not seem to be a big surprise as people tend to “grow” when they get out of their comfort zones. So, reaching beyond what you would normally do tends to make you feel good and opens new doors of possibility.

Non-Western countries studied included: Venezuela, China, Philippines, and Japan. They used a “Big Five” personality trait survey and found that everyone reported more positive emotions in daily situations where they felt or acted more extroverted. So, what one person does to be extroverted may be much more mild than another it seems. They just need to feel that they are acting extroverted. So it’s relevant to that person and their personality.

Even more interesting was a second finding that showed people who felt more extroverted, open to experience and emotionally stable when they could choose their behavior, rather than being constrained by external pressures.

Everyone wants to be happy. It’s a valuable thing and we can find tons of books on how to do so. These studies are always interesting but seem to reinforce what we already know deep down but for one reason or another may suppress. Happiness helps people live longer, feel better, deal with less stress. “Happiness” is a powerful tool for the human psyche and it’s a state of mind that we tend to choose each day. You can let things bother you and get angry or you can be scared to talk that pretty girl, or you can choose to do the opposite. The mind is powerful and what we think is known to impact every cell in our body. Sometimes it’s hard to break a pattern but once you do and you have that perspective, your life can change.

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