Happiness is…a tool to prevent depression!

Happiness is…a tool to prevent depression!

Happiness is not just about feeling good, it’s also about preventing feeling bad! Positive psychology has assumed this for quite some time, that positive emotions such as happiness boost our wellbeing but also prevent negative emotional states and experiences. Now we have some more research evidence to support this; check out the following brief summary of a recent publication…

Previous research in psychiatry has focused on how negative personality traits and impaired well-being form risk factors for depression. This study presents the first longitudinal test of whether the absence of positive well-being forms an additional unique risk factor for depression.

A large cohort of 5566 people completed a survey at two time points, aged 51_ã_56 at Time 1 and 63_ã_67 at Time 2. Positive psychological well-being included measures self-acceptance, autonomy, purpose in life, positive relationships with others, environmental mastery, and personal growth. Personality was measured as extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience. Depression was measured with the CES-D scale.

People with low positive well-being were 7.16 times more likely to be depressed 10-years later. After controlling for personality, negative functioning, prior depression, demographic, economic, and physical heath variables, people with low positive well-being were still over twice as likely to be depressed.

So there it is…using positive psychology and other methods to feel good is not just a way to find more happiness; it will obviously contribute to more positive emotions including happiness but importantly, it will also ward off and minimise the likelihood of depression!