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Good Housekeeping
Jennifer Chan, Assistant Managing Editor
May 02, 2012

A Balanced Time Perspective May Make You Happier, Study Shows

For better mental health, learn to let go, live life, and look to the future, researchers say. By Jennifer Chan

Do you have trouble letting go of the past? Could you be living too much in the present? According to a study published in the Journal of Happiness of Studies, being too fixated on a specific time frame may not be conducive to your happiness. For you to be happy, researchers say, you must adopt a balanced time perspective.

San Francisco State University researcher Ryan Howell and his colleagues have found that being too fond of the past may keep you from fully enjoying your life. On the other hand, living life on a day-to-day basis may mean neglecting your future. 

"If you're really dominant in one type of perspective, you're very limited in certain situations," says Howell. "To deal well when you walk into any situation, you need to have cognitive flexibility. That is probably why people with a balanced time perspective are happiest."

At the moment, Howell is directing The Personality and Well-being Lab. He and his graduate students are currently collecting consumer information through their website, Beyond the Purchase. A collaboration among social psychologists, the site aims to find out more about people’s spending habits as well as help participants apply a balanced time perspective to their own consumer choices.

(Photo by YangChen(TW) via Flickr Creative Commons)

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Jennifer Chan
Assistant Managing Editor
Jennifer Chan was a contributing writer for Female Network for two years before formally joining the team as a staff writer in July 2012... Read more...
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