Fond Memories of the Past Make for a Happier
TUESDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- People who remember the past
fondly are more likely to experience greater happiness in the
present, according to a new study.
Similarly, researchers found that people who tend to focus on
regrets and negative experiences are not as satisfied with their
lives as those who maintain a rosier view of the past.
The study is published online and in the June print issue of the
Personality and Individual Differences.
Personality has a lot to do with how one recalls the past,
according to the study, which examined how people's levels of
extraversion, neuroticism, openness, conscientiousness and
agreeableness relate to their attitudes and life satisfaction. The
study's findings suggest that people with certain personality
traits are happier than others because of the way they think about
their past, present and future.
"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," Ryan Howell, co-author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, said in a university news release.
Over the past three decades, many studies have suggested that
personality is a powerful predictor of a person's life
satisfaction. The latest findings help explain why: People who are
able to change or "reframe" how they perceive painful past memories
might be able to enhance their own happiness and sense of
satisfaction with their lives, the study authors suggest.
"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," said Howell.
The American Psychological Association provides details on
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