how to be happier: step away from the cupcake

just step away

Believe it or not there is a magazine called "Journal of Personality." This month's issue features a study done by researchers at the University of Chicago who found that people who are able to control their impulses and desires were in general happier people.

It makes sense. Every day I work out for 2 hours (running + kickboxing). Sometimes, though, I'm just too tired and the thought of curling up on the couch with a bowl of buttered popcorn sounds like much more fun. However, I know that in two hours I will be so happy with myself if I make the right choice to work out. If I give in to my desire to skip the workout and instead chill on the couch with a couple cupcakes, I know that in that same two hours I will feel angry with myself and annoyed that I didn't choose correctly. I think about what future me would feel about a poor decision I made.  This mental pause has allowed me to make the right decisions and lose 90 pounds.

The University of Chicago study looked at this same scenario. Were study participants able to resist temptation and how did they feel after they succeeded? In general the study found that when you give in to immediate gratification, you may enjoy the moment but in the long term you will be unhappier.

The next time you're bored and feel like giving into temptation, call a friend, brush your teeth or tell yourself that you can have the item of desire in one hour. The desire will pass but the good feeling of conquering your temptations has a long lasting effect.

Read more here.