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Positive EmotionIntegrating the Light Sides and Dark Sides$
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June Gruber and Judith Tedlie Moskowitz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199926725

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199926725.001.0001

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The How, Why, What, When, and Who of Happiness

The How, Why, What, When, and Who of Happiness

Mechanisms Underlying the Success of Positive Activity Interventions

(p.472) (p.473) Chapter 25 The How, Why, What, When, and Who of Happiness
Positive Emotion

Kristin Layous

Sonja Lyubomirsky

Oxford University Press

Over the past decade, positive psychological scientists have gathered a great deal of evidence to support the benefits of positive emotions above and beyond simply feeling good (Frederickson, 2001, in press; Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener, 2005). Randomized controlled experiments have shown that numerous positive activities (e.g., expressing gratitude, committing acts of kindness, savoring positive events, and practicing optimistic thinking) lead to increases in positive emotions and well-being. To gain a deeper understanding of how positive activities work (rather than whether they work), our laboratory has tested the mediating and moderating factors that underlie the success of positive interventions. Specifically, our research focuses on the following questions: 1) What are the mechanisms by which positive activities work to increase well-being? 2) How should positive activities be performed to maximize their effectiveness? and 3) For whom do specific positive activities work best? This chapter reviews findings supporting our new positive activity model. The model proposes four mediating variables (positive emotions, positive thoughts, positive behaviors, and need satisfaction) and two categories of moderating variables (characteristics of the positive activity [e.g., their dosage and variety] and characteristics of the person [e.g., their motivation and effort]). Finally, the model posits the importance of person-activity fit for optimal positive activity success.

Keywords:   happiness, subjective well-being, positive activities, positive interventions, self-improvement

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