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We know what will make us happy, why do we watch TV instead?

09 February 2017

A new study explores the reasons why we tend to turn away from more demanding activities, despite being aware that they are more likely to provide lasting happiness.

For most people the choice between going for a jog or watching the television following a long day at work is a simple one, despite the fact that pursuing more active or psychologically demanding pastimes is in fact associated with longer-lasting feelings of happiness.

A new study in the Journal of Positive Psychology has investigated this phenomenon, where people choose to undertake passive activities in their leisure time yet are well aware that more effortful activities would better for them psychologically.

The researchers suggested that this was to a paradox of happiness: people know which activities will bring them long term happiness, but also see them as being more daunting and less enjoyable in the moment.

Read more on our Research Digest blog.

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