Happiness Versus Positivity Research

Goals

To have a broad understanding of the differences between happiness versus positivity. An ideal response would include clear explanations of how these two themes differ, are similar, when they crossover, and when they separate. The response should be a blend of scientific evidence and psychological theories.

Early Findings

Scientific Evidence

Psychological Theories

  • According to Dani DiPirro, the author of The Positively Present Guide to Life (published by Watkins Publishing); "Happiness is a mood and positivity is a mindset. She also believes that happiness may be out of your control, but positivity is a choice you can always make; Happiness is generally short-lived, but positivity can be ever-present; Happiness is part of a disposition that can be inherited, while positivity is life-changing skill that can be learned; Happiness all the time would be miserable, but positivity all the time leads to contentment; Happiness is a goal that might not be achieved, however, positivity is a mindset one can adopt with certainty."
  • Happiness and positivity are not same thing. "Happiness could have you chasing after things for decades, endlessly waiting for the day when everything feels perfect. Positivity will always meet you right where you are, good day or bad day, through all of life's ups and downs. If you spend your life chasing happiness, you'll always be on the hunt for something. But if you focus on mastering the skill of positivity, you'll be able to make the most of wherever you are, whatever comes your way."
  • Ms. DiPirro has been published in Forbes, Elle, Glamour, The Huffington Post, Psychology Today, The Washington Post, The Globe and Mail, and many more well-known publications.

Intersection (Crossover) of Happiness and Positivity

Difference Between Happiness and Positivity

  • In a 2012 poll conducted by IPSOS, over 75% of respondents reported being "Happy" with nearly 25% reporting being "Very Happy".
  • According to Nicole Bandes , founder and CEO of the Virtual A Team , positivity is active. "Its an outward action that can be measured by others. Those around you may not know whether or not you are happy but they will know if you exhibit a positive attitude. Many individuals report being happy and yet, still complain about their situations and circumstances. Most Americans will discount their complaints and worries when it comes to reporting their overall happiness. However, these are things that work against positivity."
  • "You can work to improve your positivity with effort and practice. Happiness, though, either is or isn't and may be there one minute and gone the next. You can't choose to be happy, but you can choose to be positive and, by being more positive, you can often become happier."
  • Ms. Bandes believes that people cannot "pursue happiness because it isn't something [that] can [be] change[d]. However, by letting go our pursuit of that and focusing on becoming a more positive person, the happiness will quietly sneak in."
  • Brianna Michelle Crane is a double major in Psychology and Criminal Sociology at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. She asserts that a 'happy' person is temporary, therefore happiness is temporary. On the other hand, a 'positive' person is somebody who tries to see the light in every situation. "They see the light at times when they are drowning in homework, or when they are going through hardships in a relationship, or even when everything in their life seems to be taking a completely different turn. A 'positive' person knows that not everything in life will be happy and that is okay."
  • Positive is defined as: "good, looking towards the good side of things. Happiness is defined as the state of being happy."

Summary Of Our Early Findings Relevant To The Goals

  • Our initial hour of research was spent ensuring that the data required was publicly available, and then we went ahead and provided some salient and relevant data points that not only stand on their own and answer some research questions, but also set the table for future research.
  • While scientific evidence was asked for, we did not find many of those, other than the very recent one conducted during the pandemic, which we included. We can continue to look for this kind of source, but we do not believe there is an abundance of these and that will be reflected in our scopings below.
  • There is no shortage of opinions by credible and reliable experts and thought leaders, which we relied heavily upon during the initial hour of research.
  • Please select one or more of the options provided in the proposed scoping section below.

Research proposal:

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