"Even though our culture puts a strong emphasis on attaining wealth and fame, pursuing these goals does not contribute to having a satisfying life,” says Edward Deci, professor of psychology and the Gowen Professor in the Social Sciences at the University of Rochester. “The things that make your life happy are growing as an individual, having loving relationships, and contributing to your community."Researchers at the University of Rochester tracked 147 alumni from two universities during their second year after graduation. Using in-depth psychological surveys, the researchers assessed participants in key areas, including satisfaction with life, self-esteem, anxiety, physical signs of stress, and the experience of positive and negative emotions.
According to an article on ScienceDaily.com:
What's "striking and paradoxical" about this research, Deci says, is that it shows that reaching materialistic and image-related milestones actually contributes to ill-being; despite their accomplishments, individuals experience more negative emotions like shame and anger and more physical symptoms of anxiety such as headaches, stomachaches, and loss of energy.
By contrast, individuals who value personal growth, close relationships, community involvement, and physical health are more satisfied as they meet success in those areas. They experience a deeper sense of well-being, more positive feelings toward themselves, richer connections with others, and fewer physical signs of stress.
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