Happiness (Cohn & Fredrickson, 2010), and performing acts

Happiness and well-being are the main pursuits in life of most, if not
all individuals. Through the past decade, positive psychology research focused mainly
on interventions, either cognitively or behaviorally, designed to increase
happiness and achieve better well-being. Research evidence to date suggest that
happiness and well-being can be increased sustainably through simple activities
(Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2006), such as counting
one’s blessings (Emmons & McCullough, 2003), undertaking a loving-kindness
meditation (Cohn & Fredrickson, 2010), and performing acts of kindness (Layous,
Nelson, Oberle, Schonert-Reichl, & Lyubomirsky, 2012).

 

The positive activity model,
proposed by Lyubomirsky and Layous (2013), suggested that different features of
the positive activities (e.g. dose and variety), of the person (e.g. motivation
and effort) and the person-activity fit influence the effect of positive
activities on happiness and wellbeing. 
According to this model, the current research is interested on the
effects of different positive activities on well-being and happiness, specifically
giving and greeting.

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Research has shown that ‘giving’ in
the non-material sense, such as giving one’s time, help, and social support to
others, leads to significant personal gains in happiness and wellbeing (Steger,
Kashdan, & Oishi, 2008) and indeed health (Post, 2005). Layous et al.
(2012) showed that performing acts of kindness towards others led to increased
wellbeing and also increased quality of peer relationships, while Weinstein and
Ryan (2010) showed that when people volitionally help others, they experience
enhanced wellbeing. Also, a series of studies has demonstrated that people
experience greater Positive Affect from spending money on others than from
spending money on themselves (Dunn, Aknin, & Norton, 2008), hence, termed
‘Prosocial Spending’. Thus, the current research will use the amount of money
spent on others as the operational definition of ‘Giving’.

 

However, although previous studies have
suggested multiple varieties of positive activities to enhance well-being and
happiness, there are other possible unidentified positive activities that has
yet to be studied. Hence, this research is interested to study “Greeting”, a
form of expressing goodwill and recognition that is believed to produce similar
effects with “Giving” on well-being and happiness.

 

To induce positive activities of giving
and greeting, this research has chosen to use guided imagery. According to
Charalambous, Giannakopoulou, Bozas, Marcou, Kitsios and Paikousis (2016),
guided imagery is the use of mental visualization (mental images) to improve
mood and physical well-being. It is something we mentally see, hear, taste,
smell, touch, or feel. The term guided imagery refers to a wide variety of
techniques; however, for the purpose of this study, simple visualization and direct
suggestion using imagery are employed. Positive mental imagery has been used
extensively in clinical settings and has been found effective in improving mood
(Apóstolo & Kolcaba, 2009). Thus, this research will induce a scenario from
either one of the 5 conditions (giving, not giving, greeting, not greeting and neutral)
through guided imagery; to further investigate on the effects of positive
activities on well-being and happiness.

 

While many literatures don’t share a unified
and generalized definition for happiness and well-being, the sense of ambiguity
has created different interpretations. Happiness has been indicated in some publications as an aspect of
subjective wellbeing (along with life satisfaction and affect balance; Keyes,
2006; Keyes & Magyar-Moe, 2003), in others subjective well-being has been
identified as a hedonic component of happiness (Fave,
Brdar, Freire, Vella-Brodrick, & Wissing, 2011),
and in yet others the two terms have been indicated as synonyms (Diener &
Diener, 1996; Linley & Joseph, 2004). To clarify the ambiguity in previous
literature, this study will explore the effect of happiness on wellbeing, as in
to Ng (2015), happiness is a smaller and simpler concept of positive or
negative emotion affects at the point of time which contributes to a broader
perspective.

 

The current study is able to provide an insight on the
possible ways to create and obtain positive effects through simple activities,
hence the doors to well-being and happiness. Also, the results is able to identify
which positive activity will bring the most benefits to an individual’s
emotional state and life satisfaction. Thus, being able to contribute in the
current counselling and clinical field, where depressed or troubled individuals
face constant negative emotions and unable to feel positive affects from daily
routines. In addition, this study will draw a clearer understanding between the
two terms, well-being and happiness; to contribute to future research by
distinguishing the ambiguity.

           Happiness and well-being are the main pursuits in life of most, if not
all individuals. Through the past decade, positive psychology research focused mainly
on interventions, either cognitively or behaviorally, designed to increase
happiness and achieve better well-being. Research evidence to date suggest that
happiness and well-being can be increased sustainably through simple activities
(Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2006), such as counting
one’s blessings (Emmons & McCullough, 2003), undertaking a loving-kindness
meditation (Cohn & Fredrickson, 2010), and performing acts of kindness (Layous,
Nelson, Oberle, Schonert-Reichl, & Lyubomirsky, 2012).

 

The positive activity model,
proposed by Lyubomirsky and Layous (2013), suggested that different features of
the positive activities (e.g. dose and variety), of the person (e.g. motivation
and effort) and the person-activity fit influence the effect of positive
activities on happiness and wellbeing. 
According to this model, the current research is interested on the
effects of different positive activities on well-being and happiness, specifically
giving and greeting.

 

Research has shown that ‘giving’ in
the non-material sense, such as giving one’s time, help, and social support to
others, leads to significant personal gains in happiness and wellbeing (Steger,
Kashdan, & Oishi, 2008) and indeed health (Post, 2005). Layous et al.
(2012) showed that performing acts of kindness towards others led to increased
wellbeing and also increased quality of peer relationships, while Weinstein and
Ryan (2010) showed that when people volitionally help others, they experience
enhanced wellbeing. Also, a series of studies has demonstrated that people
experience greater Positive Affect from spending money on others than from
spending money on themselves (Dunn, Aknin, & Norton, 2008), hence, termed
‘Prosocial Spending’. Thus, the current research will use the amount of money
spent on others as the operational definition of ‘Giving’.

 

However, although previous studies have
suggested multiple varieties of positive activities to enhance well-being and
happiness, there are other possible unidentified positive activities that has
yet to be studied. Hence, this research is interested to study “Greeting”, a
form of expressing goodwill and recognition that is believed to produce similar
effects with “Giving” on well-being and happiness.

 

To induce positive activities of giving
and greeting, this research has chosen to use guided imagery. According to
Charalambous, Giannakopoulou, Bozas, Marcou, Kitsios and Paikousis (2016),
guided imagery is the use of mental visualization (mental images) to improve
mood and physical well-being. It is something we mentally see, hear, taste,
smell, touch, or feel. The term guided imagery refers to a wide variety of
techniques; however, for the purpose of this study, simple visualization and direct
suggestion using imagery are employed. Positive mental imagery has been used
extensively in clinical settings and has been found effective in improving mood
(Apóstolo & Kolcaba, 2009). Thus, this research will induce a scenario from
either one of the 5 conditions (giving, not giving, greeting, not greeting and neutral)
through guided imagery; to further investigate on the effects of positive
activities on well-being and happiness.

 

While many literatures don’t share a unified
and generalized definition for happiness and well-being, the sense of ambiguity
has created different interpretations. Happiness has been indicated in some publications as an aspect of
subjective wellbeing (along with life satisfaction and affect balance; Keyes,
2006; Keyes & Magyar-Moe, 2003), in others subjective well-being has been
identified as a hedonic component of happiness (Fave,
Brdar, Freire, Vella-Brodrick, & Wissing, 2011),
and in yet others the two terms have been indicated as synonyms (Diener &
Diener, 1996; Linley & Joseph, 2004). To clarify the ambiguity in previous
literature, this study will explore the effect of happiness on wellbeing, as in
to Ng (2015), happiness is a smaller and simpler concept of positive or
negative emotion affects at the point of time which contributes to a broader
perspective.

 

The current study is able to provide an insight on the
possible ways to create and obtain positive effects through simple activities,
hence the doors to well-being and happiness. Also, the results is able to identify
which positive activity will bring the most benefits to an individual’s
emotional state and life satisfaction. Thus, being able to contribute in the
current counselling and clinical field, where depressed or troubled individuals
face constant negative emotions and unable to feel positive affects from daily
routines. In addition, this study will draw a clearer understanding between the
two terms, well-being and happiness; to contribute to future research by
distinguishing the ambiguity.

           

In conclusion, the current research
is interested in exploring more varieties of positive activities that will
increase the well-being and happiness, that is proposed in the positive
activity model, by Lyubomirsky and Layous (2013). Based on past literatures,
this study identified two positive activities (giving and greeting) that is
believed to create wellbeing and happiness. Hence, this research is proposing
several hypotheses, that includes both giving and greeting will create a
significantly higher well-being and happiness intensity rating; where giving
will have more effect than greeting. Also, the higher the amount used on
“prosocial spending”, the higher the well-being and happiness intensity rating.
Lastly, this research will also explore the relationship between well-being and
happiness, hypothesizing that wellbeing score in both conditions will increase
when happiness is controlled for.

In conclusion, the current research
is interested in exploring more varieties of positive activities that will
increase the well-being and happiness, that is proposed in the positive
activity model, by Lyubomirsky and Layous (2013). Based on past literatures,
this study identified two positive activities (giving and greeting) that is
believed to create wellbeing and happiness. Hence, this research is proposing
several hypotheses, that includes both giving and greeting will create a
significantly higher well-being and happiness intensity rating; where giving
will have more effect than greeting. Also, the higher the amount used on
“prosocial spending”, the higher the well-being and happiness intensity rating.
Lastly, this research will also explore the relationship between well-being and
happiness, hypothesizing that wellbeing score in both conditions will increase
when happiness is controlled for.