| Andrea Barthelemy |
BERLIN (dpa) – So you thought all those painful experiences at least built character? Think again, says an award-winning German psychologist.
“I consider that to be an erroneous belief,” said Jule Specht, who recently received the 2014 Berlin Science Prize for Young Scholars, in an interview with dpa.
“In my opinion, most study results indicate that negative experiences in life have negative effects, and positive developments tend to come from a positive context – a stable family, good relationships and a fulfilling occupation.
“Generally speaking, people develop positively when they’re satisfied with their life.”
Specht, 28, is a junior professor of psychological diagnostics at the Free University of Berlin and also a blogger.
Her main areas of research are personality development in adulthood, mate selection, and the causes and effects of well-being.
Why is happiness so fleeting? “We don’t really know,” Specht conceded. “Positive events seem to fade much more quickly” than negative ones.
She did, however, have some advice on how to slow the fading of life’s bright moments.
“One recommendation is to really make yourself aware of the things that go well instead of always chasing new goals,” she said. “Personality traits also strongly affect well-being – someone who’s extroverted and not emotionally fragile tends to be happy.
“You can also promote (your well-being) by socialising, giving yourself treats, and thinking about good things, but it’s not easy.”