A study conducted by researchers at the University of British Columbia and published in Nature Human Behavior questions the scientific evidence behind the most popular happiness strategies, including expressing gratitude, increasing social interactions, and practicing mindfulness. The researchers argue that while these strategies may enhance happiness, the duration and strength of their effects remain unclear.
- The study was initiated as part of a broader push in the psychology field to apply stricter measures to research studies and data interpretation. Researchers investigated the validity of the most popular happiness strategies.
- The five strategies examined were expressing gratitude, increasing social interactions, practicing mindfulness or meditation, spending more time in nature, and exercising. Only 57 out of more than 22,000 studies about these methods were pre-registered and well-powered.
- Studies exploring gratitude and social interaction were the only methods that had pre-registered and well-powered studies supporting them. However, the effects of these strategies were found to be short-lived.
- The researchers stress that these strategies may still enhance people’s moods and increase happiness, but it is essential to recognize that they may not work for everyone.
- The study underscores the importance of increased transparency and reproducibility of scientific data in happiness research.