Self-Disciplined People Are Happier (and Not as Deprived as You Think)

Posted on July 2, 2013

It’s easy to think of the highly self-disciplined as being miserable misers or uptight Puritans, but it turns out that exerting self-control can make you happier not only in the long run, but also in the moment.

The research, which was published in the Journal of Personality, showed that self-control isn’t just about deprivation, but more about managing conflicting goals. Since most people associate highly disciplined folks with being more task-oriented — they’re not likely to be the life of the party, for example, or eager to act on a whim — the scientists decided to correlate self-control with people’s happiness, to determine if being self-disciplined leaves people feeling less joyful.

So why does exerting more self-discipline seem so dreary? Dieting, for example, is all about self-control but isn’t necessarily associated with happy thoughts. Part of that may have to do with the effort required to bypass or diffuse conflicts created by temptation. “From other research, we know that exercising self-control is taxing,” says Smith-Crowe, but that may only be a perception, since it results from our tendency to focus on the difficulty of exercising discipline rather than the benefits that result when we do.

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Category(s):Control Issues

Source material from Time


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