Balanced perspective makes for contentment

Washington, April 27: Do you view the past with fondness, enjoy the present and strive for future goals? If you hold all these perspectives in a balanced way, it could contribute tremendously to your sense of wellbeing, says a study.

It can be fine to have fond memories of childhood, for instance, but spending too much time remembering the past can keep you from enjoying the present.

It might be great to treat yourself to a nice dinner, but “living in the moment” like that every night could keep you from achieving future goals, the Journal of Happiness Studies reported.

A new study by San Francisco State University researcher Ryan Howell and his colleagues demonstrates that having this sort of “balanced time perspective” can make people feel more vital, more grateful, and more satisfied with their lives, according to a university statement.

“If you are too extreme or rely too much on any one of these perspectives, it becomes detrimental, and you can get into very destructive types of behaviours. It is best to be balanced in your time perspectives,” said Howell.

While it may seem obvious that people who have a positive attitude about their past, enjoy the present, and focus on goals for the future would be the happiest, Howell said that a sense of well-being depends on the balance between these elements.

“If you’re really dominant in one type of perspective, you’re very limited in certain situations,” he added. “To deal well when you walk into any situation, you need to have cognitive flexibility. That is probably why people with a balanced time perspective are happiest,” said Howell.

Howell directs the Personality and Well-Being Lab. “The site is open to anyone who wants to learn more about their spending habits, and put themselves in a place where they can make better consumer choices,” Howell said.

IANS