What a Good Mood Can Do for Productivity

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Is a clean home really a happy home? Research says it’s probably the other way around.

A Yale study found that people in a good mood are more likely to do mundane and mood-reducing activities. These can be things like cleaning or paying bills. Likewise, those in a bad mood will participate in mood-enhancing activities like going out with friends or playing sports.

The Yale team, led by Dr Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, used a phone app to record the moods and activities of 28,000 people.

They found that people want to minimize negative effects of their moods and maximize positive effects. This process is called the flexible hedonic principle, a way humans regulate their moods.

Montjoye explained the principle to an Imperial College reporter:

The decisions we make every day about how to invest our time have important personal and societal consequences. Most theories of motivation propose that our daily choices of activities aim to maximise our positive state of mind, but have so far failed to explain how people manage their mood and decide to engage in unpleasant yet necessary activities. Using large-scale data, we showed how our emotions shape our behaviour and explain the trade-offs us humans make in our daily lives to secure our long-term happiness.

To put it another way, those mood-reducing tasks are investments in our future. If you clean when you’re happy, your house won’t be a mess when your mood takes a nosedive.  Because you’ve completed this task while happy, you’ll be able to manage your emotions without distractions.

In conclusion, if your friend’s place is cleaner than yours, they might just be happier than you.

Marnie Slater is a freelance writer for Weekend Collective and performs stand up comedy in Kansas City. Follow her @marnieslaterkc for upcoming gigs and a whole lot of shenanigans.

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