Variety could well be the spice of life

Variety could well prove to be the spice of life after new research found that while happiness can increase after major life changes, this feeling might fade over time. Kennon Sheldon, Professor of Psychological Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Missouri, found there could be a psychological basis to sayings such as 'happiness isn't getting what you want, but wanting what you get'.

Professor Sheldon noted the pursuit to be content can be a never-ending quest, but explained the development of a new model might be used to enable individuals to maintain higher levels of happiness that are derived from beneficial alterations.

He explained this approach is made up of two major components - "the need to keep having new and positive life-changing experiences and the need to keep appreciating what you already have and not want more too soon".

The findings - presented in the study The Challenge of Staying Happier - have been published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Bhavna Jani-Negandhi, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "Professor Sheldon's finding is certainly interesting. It seems that research on happiness and positive psychology conclude that gratitude and appreciation are important qualities among many, which are important for our wellbeing. 

"However, as human beings go, it would be fair to observe that after a while, we can take things for granted and cease to appreciate what we have. 

"Change and variety are perhaps just as important for stimulation, growth and happiness. Therefore, Professor Sheldon's new model, with two major components, having new experiences and appreciating what you have and not want more too soon, seems to make psychological sense."