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People who are considered “self-fulfilling” — meaning they have a high positive affect and a low negative affect — are more likely to be happy, have less depressive symptoms and have higher life-satisfaction, than other personality types, according to the new study published in the journal PeerJ.
Positive affect is defined as reacting more intensely to positive things, while negative affect is defined as reacting more intensely to negative things. For the study, researchers created four categories of personality based on these concepts of negative and positive affect: “self-fulfilling” people with high positive affect and low negative affect; “self-destructive” people with low positive affect and high negative affect; high-affective people with high positive and negative affect; and low-affective people with low positive and negative affect.
The researchers, who are from the University of Gothenburg, Linneaus University and the Network for Empowerment and Well-Being in Sweden, also found that these “self-fulfilling” people were more likely to use certain strategies to boost their moods.
Specifically, effective happiness-boosting strategies included receiving support from friends, self-acceptance, self-control, and seeking support from religion/faith. (Other strategies examined by researchers included partying and clubbing, passive leisure activites like surfing the Internet, active leisure activities like exercising, and mental control in the form of telling yourself to stop being unhappy.)
Other research has shown links between life outlook and happiness, as well as social connectedness and happiness. The Harvard Grant Study, conducted over 75 years, showed that love and social connections are crucial to leading a happy and successful life. And another study, conducted by researchers at National Taiwan University, found that realistic optimists — meaning they have healthy doses of both optimism and pessimism — tend to have the most success and happiness in life, LiveScience reported.