S. Katherine Nelson

What leads people to live happy and fulfilling lives? How do major life events, such as having children, alter the course of adults' lives and ultimately shape their well-being? These questions are…

Improving Well-Being With Simple Behaviors

Improving Well-Being With Simple Behaviors – My second approach to human happiness focuses on understanding how simple day-to-day behaviors influence well-being.

I have been exploring how the thoughts and behaviors common among naturally happy people–for example, affirming one’s core values or practicing acts of kindness–can be nurtured, acquired, or directly taught.

Specifically, I have investigated the mechanisms underlying the efficacy of simple behaviors or “positive activities” to boost well-being.

For example, in several longitudinal experiments, I have found that affirming one’s core values, performing acts of kindness, and practicing optimism lead to increases in happiness and meaning in life. 

Selected Publications: 

  • Nelson, S. K., Fuller, J. A. K., Choi, I., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2014). Beyond self-protection: Self-affirmation benefits hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 998-1011
  • Layous, K., Nelson, S. K., Oberle, E., Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2012). Kindness counts: Prompting prosocial behavior in preadolescents boosts peer acceptance and well-being. PLOS ONE, 7, e51380. 

Isobel Williamson

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