IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/joepsy/v29y2008i5p632-642.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Getting off the hedonic treadmill, one step at a time: The impact of regular religious practice and exercise on well-being

Author

Listed:
  • Mochon, Daniel
  • Norton, Michael I.
  • Ariely, Dan

Abstract

Many studies have shown that few events in life have a lasting impact on subjective well-being because of people's tendency to adapt quickly; worse, those events that do have a lasting impact tend to be negative. We suggest that while major events may not provide lasting increases in well-being, certain seemingly minor events - such as attending religious services or exercising - may do so by providing small but frequent boosts: if people engage in such behaviors with sufficient frequency, they may cumulatively experience enough boosts to attain higher well-being. In Study 1, we surveyed places of worship for 12 religions and found that people did receive positive boosts for attending service, and that these boosts appeared to be cumulative: the more they reported attending, the happier they were. In Study 2, we generalized these effects to other regular activities, demonstrating that people received boosts for exercise and yoga, and that these boosts too had a cumulative positive impact on well-being. We suggest that shifting focus from the impact of major life changes on well-being to the impact of seemingly minor repeated behaviors is crucial for understanding how best to improve well-being.

Suggested Citation

  • Mochon, Daniel & Norton, Michael I. & Ariely, Dan, 2008. "Getting off the hedonic treadmill, one step at a time: The impact of regular religious practice and exercise on well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 632-642, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:29:y:2008:i:5:p:632-642
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167-4870(07)00087-6
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
    2. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger & David Schkade & Norbert Schwarz & Arthur Stone, 2004. "Toward National Well-Being Accounts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 429-434, May.
    3. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2006. "Some Uses of Happiness Data in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-46, Winter.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Popova, Olga, 2014. "Can religion insure against aggregate shocks to happiness? The case of transition countries," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 804-818.
    2. Owen, Ann L. & Handley-Miner, Isaac, 2015. "Race, Class, Gender, and the Happiness of College Students," MPRA Paper 67078, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Ferdi Botha & Frikkie Booysen, 2013. "The Gold of One’s Ring is Not Far More Precious than the Gold of One’s Heart: Reported Life Satisfaction Among Married and Cohabitating South African Adults," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 433-456, April.
    4. Kontek, Krzysztof, 2010. "Two Kinds of Adaptation, Two Kinds of Relativity," MPRA Paper 25169, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Daniel Mochon & Michael Norton & Dan Ariely, 2011. "Who Benefits from Religion?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 101(1), pages 1-15, March.
    6. Di Tella, Rafael & Haisken-De New, John & MacCulloch, Robert, 2010. "Happiness adaptation to income and to status in an individual panel," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 834-852, December.
    7. Giacomantonio, Mauro & Mannetti, Lucia & Pierro, Antonio, 2013. "Locomoting toward well-being or getting entangled in a material world: Regulatory modes and affective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 80-89.
    8. Ovul Sezer & Michael I. Norton & Francesca Gino & Kathleen D. Vohs, 2016. "Family Rituals Improve the Holidays," Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(4), pages 509-526.
    9. repec:eee:spomar:v:20:y:2017:i:3:p:309-321 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Well-being Welfare Religion;

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:29:y:2008:i:5:p:632-642. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.