Thursday, January 08, 2009

A trick for appreciating the present moment

How natural or easy is it to relish our daily life experiences? Every self-help book you pick up says we should "stop and smell the roses." Kurtz looks at temporal scarcity as a motivator. His abstract:
Both psychological research and conventional wisdom suggest that it can be difficult to attend to and derive enjoyment from the pleasant things in life. The present study examined whether focusing on the imminent ending of a positive life experience can lead to increased enjoyment. A temporal distance manipulation was used to make college graduation seem more or less close at hand. Twice a week over the course of 2 weeks, college students were told to write about their college life, with graduation being framed as either very close or very far off. As predicted, thinking about graduation as being close led to a significant increase in college-related behaviors and subjective well-being over the course of the study. The present research provides support for the counterintuitive hypothesis that thinking about an experience's ending can enhance one's present enjoyment of it.

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