Hedonists Are Happier, Study Shows (So Eff Everything and Indulge Already)

If you need an excuse to engage in all your favorite vices (sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, anyone?), science has one for you. A new study titled “Beyond Self-Control: Mechanisms of Hedonic Goal Pursuit and Its Relevance for Well-Being,” published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, says that it’s the little (often naughty) things that make us happy.

“It’s time for a rethink,” study co-author Katharina Bernecker of the University of Zurich said in a press release. “Of course, self-control is important, but research on self-regulation should pay just as much attention to hedonism, or short-term pleasure.”

The study found that the key to happiness was not just indulging in those fleeting pleasures, but in staying present and really enjoying them. People who can do that are happier in the short-term and the long-term. They’re also less likely to experience anxiety and depression than people who either don’t indulge or indulge but second-guess (and guilt-trip) themselves.

Translation: If you want that outrageous dessert, booty call, or new video game, go for it. Just make sure you give yourself complete permission to relish it and keep your inner critic quiet. Your lifelong happiness literally depends on it.

Cover Photo: Ivanko_Brnjakovic (Getty Images)

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