People who put achievement ahead of enjoyment are less happy: Study
Washington, US: Researchers discovered that people who prioritised achievement over enjoyment were less happy the next day.
Those who aimed for freedom reported a 13 per cent increase in well-being, with improved sleep quality and life satisfaction.
Participants who tried to relax and pursue their hobbies reported an 8 per cent increase in well-being and a 10 pc decrease in stress and anxiety.
Dr Hanel collaborated with colleagues at the University of Bath on the study, which was published in the Journal of Personality.
For the first time, it looked at how different values affect our happiness.
Dr Hanel said, “We all know the old saying ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ and this study shows it might actually be true.
“There is no benefit to well-being in prioritising achievement over fun and autonomy.
“This research shows that there are real benefits to having a balanced life and taking time to focus on enjoying ourselves and following individual goals.
“Ironically by doing this, people could in fact be more successful as they will be more relaxed, happier and satisfied.”
The study, Value Fulfilment and Well-being: Clarifying Directions Over Time, looked at over 180 people in India, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
They kept a diary for nine days and recorded how different values affected them.
Surprisingly, all nationalities reported the same results, with 'hedonism' self-direction' values leading to greater happiness.
The values of 'achievement' and 'conformity' had no effect on happiness.
However, the researchers believe that achievement can have an effect on happiness when it is linked to job satisfaction or the number of days worked.
Professor Greg Maio, University of Bath, said, “This multination project was an exciting foray into questions about how values affect well-being in day-to-day life.
“People often spend most of their days working hard for their daily income, studies, and careers.
“Against this backdrop, where achievement-oriented values have ring-fenced a great portion of our time, we found that it helps to value freedom and other values just enough to bring in balance and recovery.
“In the future, it will be interesting to consider how this pattern interacts with relevant traits, such as conscientiousness, and situational contexts, such as type of employment.”
It is hoped the research will now influence mental health provision and influence therapeutic give to clients.
Dr. Hanel added, “Our research further shows that it might be more important to focus on increasing happiness rather than reducing c which is of course also important, just not as much.”