Research: People With a Lot of Self-Control Are Happier

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    Jul 03, 2013 11:02 PM GMT
    Interesting... I would have thought the opposite - at least most of us have been told the opposite. We know that those who do have more self control though, tend to make more money as well and do better in life.

    "Improbably enough, people who are better able to resist impulses report being more satisfied with their lives."

    http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/07/study-people-with-a-lot-of-self-control-are-happier/277349/
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    Jul 04, 2013 12:39 PM GMT
    PaulaDeen saidProve it.


    I think that's what they tried to show.

    RESULTS: The more self-control people reported having, the more satisfied they reported being with their lives. And contrary to what the researchers were expecting, people with more self-control were also more likely to be happy in the short-term. In fact, when they further analyzed the data, they found that such people's increased happiness to a large extent accounted for the increased life satisfaction.

    IMPLICATIONS: As they go about their daily lives, people with a lot of self-control appear to generally be in higher spirits; in the long run, they're happier with their lives. To explain why this would be so, the researchers conducted another online survey. What they figured out is that instead of constantly denying themselves, people high in self-control are simply less likely to find themselves in situations where that's even an issue. They don't waste time fighting inner battles over whether or not to eat a second piece of cake. They're above such petty temptations. And that, it would seem, makes them happier ... if still just a little bit sad.
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    Jul 04, 2013 12:50 PM GMT
    I think people who have more self control tend to be more responsible in the choices that they make. Perhaps that'll help them avoid unnecessary drama?
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    Jul 04, 2013 12:53 PM GMT
    tmac saidI think people who have more self control tend to be more responsible in the choices that they make. Perhaps that'll help them avoid unnecessary drama?

    That's wise and makes a lot of sense.
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    Jul 04, 2013 2:50 PM GMT
    Well, as as great poet once said, if you ride the crazy train you should expect to go off the rails.
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    Jul 04, 2013 4:05 PM GMT
    PaulaDeen saidSo why did you say that we have been told the opposite?


    As the summary of the study notes at the beginning:

    PROBLEM: "Among humankind's most valuable assets" is self-control, according to Wilhelm Hofmann and his team of researchers at the University of Chicago. They define it as "the ability to override or change one's inner responses" and to refrain from acting on impulses. As an immediate consequence of leading lives of constant self-denial, it would seem that people with a lot of self-control aren't likely to derive a lot of pleasure from life, although in the long run they might benefit from the satisfaction of being better able to realize long-term goals. They don't get to enjoy the cronuts, but they get to be thin, healthy, and otherwise better than the rest of us.
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    Jul 04, 2013 5:09 PM GMT
    PaulaDeen saidSo why did you say that we have been told the opposite?


    #YOLO philosophy
  • Drift

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    Jul 04, 2013 5:20 PM GMT
    I should probably look deeper into the methodology, but I'm wondering; what kinds of impulses are they talking about following, when they talk of lack of self control? Is it a matter of resisting impulses, or just being more discerning about what constitutes a 'good' impulse for you?
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    Jul 04, 2013 5:32 PM GMT
    This is vindication for my entire way of life.
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    Jul 04, 2013 6:36 PM GMT
    Research: People With a Lot of Self-Control Are Happier

    That makes sense. We see it played out here all the time. The angriest are the ones who are nastily lashing out at others for the smallest of things and over political disagreement.
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    Jul 04, 2013 6:38 PM GMT
    Its true.

    Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you reaction to it.
  • kevmoran

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    Jul 04, 2013 6:42 PM GMT
    I think the word blissful works in this context.
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    Jul 04, 2013 7:06 PM GMT
    It makes perfect sense... how could constantly giving into your emotions make you happy? The first thing I want to say or do is RARELY the right response to any situation.
  • TroyAthlete

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    Jul 04, 2013 7:27 PM GMT
    Hmmm, the methodology on this study seems off -- I'd like to see it's crosstabs.

    I'm not so sure about the validity/reliability of having people self-report their own happiness. It would seem to me that people with more "self-control" would be less likely to answer honestly when reporting their level of happiness.

    For example, let's say there are two gay friends in a gay bar, one of whom has more self-control, and the other who acts more on impulse. A group of hot guys passes by, and they start deciding whether to introduce themselves.

    The one with more self-control might falsely self-report happiness as an excuse to stay put: "I'm fine, I happy going home alone tonight." Whereas, the more impulsive friend might be more willing to self-report unhappiness and thus more likely to act on impulse, strike up a conversation, and end up with a hot guy's phone number. Who -- really -- is more happy? They might both be happy at the end of the night, but maybe the guy with more self-control is lonely, unhappy, but not willing to admit it. You can't really tell when someone self-reports.

    The researchers probably should have found another way to quantify "happiness" and define it against a norm than self-reporting.
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    Jul 04, 2013 7:31 PM GMT
    Or do happy folks have more self-control?
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    Jul 04, 2013 7:48 PM GMT
    They might be happier but who wants to live life like a robot ?! F right off icon_lol.gif
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    Jul 04, 2013 7:52 PM GMT
    whateveryo saidThey might be happier but who wants to live life like a robot ?! F right off icon_lol.gif


    I enjoy it. Though I wouldn't necessarily say i'm like a robot lol
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    Jul 04, 2013 8:02 PM GMT
    turbobilly saidOr do happy folks have more self-control?

    537.gif


    True though, if you are happier / more content with your life, you are less likely to make irrational and potentially harmful decisions.
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    Jul 04, 2013 8:07 PM GMT
    whateveryo saidThey might be happier but who wants to live life like a robot ?! F right off icon_lol.gif


    No one is saying to live life as a robot.



    Also - it's not so much about self-control but about self-distraction.
    http://healthland.time.com/2011/09/06/the-secrets-of-self-control-the-marshmallow-test-40-years-later/

    The most successful participants figured out how to distract themselves from the treat’s seduction — by turning around, covering their eyes or kicking the desk, for instance — and delayed gratification for the full 15 minutes.

    Follow-up studies on these preschoolers found that those who were able to wait the 15 minutes were significantly less likely to have problems with behavior, drug addiction or obesity by the time they were in high school, compared with kids who gobbled the snack in less than a minute. The gratification-delayers also scored an average of 210 points higher on the SAT.
  • BryUSC88

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    Jul 15, 2013 3:39 PM GMT
    Makes perfect sense to me. I would think that addicts (drugs, alcohol, sex, etc) would list lack of self control as one of their biggest problems. So the people that are able to resist temptations are much happier.