Viewing past experiences positively can affect current state of happiness, according to a new study. The study considered the five basic personality traits and determined how these affect a person’s life satisfaction relative to how they perceive their past. The study looked at characteristics that would describe a person as conscientious, agreeable, extraverted, open and neurotic. They examined the levels of each trait that a person exhibited to assess their analysis.
In a recent article, the evidence revealed that people who were more outgoing were more apt to view past life experiences positively, and those who appeared to struggle with moodiness, were less likely to be happy. “We found that highly extraverted people are happier with their lives because they tend to hold a positive, nostalgic view of the past and are less likely to have negative thoughts and regrets. People high on the neurotic scale essentially have the exact opposite view of the past and are less happy as a result,” said Ryan Howell, assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, and coauthor of study with SF State graduating senior Jia Wei Zhang.
“This is good news because although it may be difficult to change your personality, you may be able to alter your view of time and boost your happiness,” said Howell in a related article. He believes that treasuring and enjoying the positive memories or only seeing the good in the bad experiences could provide a useful tool to help others improve their sense of life satisfaction. Previous studies have offered evidence to support the findings that a person’s inherent character trait plays a major role in determining their sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. These new results support that evidence further. “Personality traits influence how people look at the past, present and future and it is these different perspectives on time which drive a person’s happiness,” Howell said.
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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