The choices that people make, whether they’re major decisions with the potential to have a considerable impact on daily life or are less heavily weighted, play major roles in the psychological environment, and can greatly influence mood and well-being. Efforts to understand why people make the choices they do have been central to psychology and psychotherapy for some time, and many studies have been performed in relation to the inquiry. Recently, a team of researchers at the University of Kansas published the results of a study aimed at understanding how time perceptions influence choices regarding personal health, as well as which kinds of measures are best suited to posing such questions.
The researchers found that those who were focused on the present moment were less likely to engage in exercise, and more likely to participate in risky behaviors such as drinking and smoking than their counterparts, who identified as being focused on the future. The study’s participants were asked several questions regarding their own thoughts on the importance of different points of time as well as making investments, but the researchers reported that the most productive tools in their analysis were those questions pertaining to social psychology.
Based on their data, the researchers propose that those within the medical and personal care fields, among which mental health services and psychotherapy certainly have their places, assess clients as to their individual time perspectives before designing treatment in order to tailor a more potentially successful solution. As a follow-up to their study, the team plans on investigating time perspectives in connection with environmentally conscious behaviors such as recycling, and is hopeful that more valuable information on decision-making will be yielded.
© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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