Evidence That It Works
In one study, seeking happiness through pleasurable, engaging, and meaningful activities was found to predict life satisfaction in a sample of 845 predominately adults. Activities that involved deep mental engagement or meaningful pursuits were more strongly associated with happiness than pleasure-seeking activities, but the combination of all three types of activity was associated with the highest levels of life satisfaction.
In another study, psychiatric patients hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or behaviors reported increased optimism and decreased hopelessness after completing this exercise.
Why Does It Matter?
One of the most direct ways to increase happiness is to do more of the things that make us happy. But when life gets busy, we don’t always remember to make time for enjoyable activities. Intentionally scheduling a variety of enjoyable activities into the day can help overcome this barrier to happiness.
This exercise prompts children and teens to engage in a variety of activities associated with happiness and reflect on how they make you feel. Different kinds of activities bring different kinds of satisfaction, all of which contribute uniquely to happiness. Research suggests that variety and novelty in daily activities is an important component of happiness, so trying a number of different activities can prevent you and your children from getting so used to any one activity that it ceases to bring you pleasure.