Should Happiness Be a Factor in Our Decisions?

Should Happiness Be a Factor in Our Decisions?

If you’re reading this then I’m pretty sure you’re interested in, and probably think a lot about happiness.

Which is great!

But there are a few things about happiness not many know, one of which is that we’re actually not very good at predicting what makes us happy.

This means, if we use happiness as a guiding factor when making decisions, we can make some mistakes.

The good news, however, is that there are solutions so if this sounds interesting then read on …

via Psychology Today by Theo Tsaousides

KEY POINTS

  • Affective forecasting, or the process of predicting how one will feel at a future point in time, is often involved in decisions.
  • Predictions about happiness and other emotions are often inaccurate.
  • While happiness is an important factor in decision-making, it’s also important to learn how to make one’s predictions stronger.
  • Research shows that expectations about the quality of an experience influence how one feels during the experience itself.
albund/depositphotos

Source: albund/depositphotos

How we feel affects the choices we make, the actions we take, and the lives we build. From choosing which movie to watch or which restaurant to go to for dinner to which job offer to take and which city to live in, our decisions are often based on how happy we expect to be with the outcomes of these decisions.

The multitude of decisions we have to make each day, the gravity that many of these decisions carry, and the complexity of the decision-making process itself, make predicting our future happiness a considerable challenge. How well can we rely on our predictions about our emotional future?

The process of predicting how we will feel at a future point in time is called affective forecasting. Affective forecasting is involved in many of our decisions. But the truth is that we are not impressive fortune tellers of our emotional future.

We indisputably pursue situations that we expect will make us happy and avoid situations that bring about distress. While it is a natural tendency to prefer pleasure over pain, there are some factors to consider when we make decisions based on how happy or unhappy we expect to feel.

1. Our current emotional state affects our predictions about our future emotional state. Our emotions are never turned off. We constantly experience affect. Affect is the raw ingredient from which more complex emotions are made. The affect we experience in the moment puts us in a certain emotional state, which influences the predictions we make about our future feelings. As a result, it is difficult to remain objective when we make predictions.

In general, being in a good mood leads to positive emotion forecasts, while being in a bad mood produces negative emotion forecasts. Decisions we make about whether to participate in an activity in the future and how we expect to feel during the activity depend to a large degree on our current mood. This means that before we commit to being part of a seemingly exciting project at work or to going to a friend’s housewarming party, we must consider factors other than how excited we feel about our commitment in that moment…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE