Will you crawl into your bed and watch Netflix after work or finally get to that heaping pile of laundry you’ve been ignoring for the last month? The answer to this question can be found in the mood you woke up in, according to a new study on hedonism. In an effort to understand the relationship between mood and future activities, researchers from Harvard and the University of Pompeu in Barcelona monitored over 28,000 people using a smartphone app for a full month.
According to the resulting report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, people seek mood-enhancing activities when they feed bad and unpleasant activities when they feel good. In other words, you’re more likely to do laundry and catch up on chores when you’re happy. Conversely, going out to dinner or indulging in whatever activity you consider “mood-enhancing” (in a perfect world, working out) is reserved for your down-in-the-dumps days.
“Decisions we make every day about how to invest our time have crucial personal and societal consequences. These findings clarify how emotions shape behavior and may explain how humans trade off short-term happiness for long-term welfare,” reads the study abstract. “Overcoming such trade-offs might be critical for our personal well-being and our survival as a species.”
These findings run counter to the popular belief that if you’re happy and in a good mood, you’ll seek activities to enhance that happiness. Instead, we seem to choose the activities that we know will benefit us in the long run, channeling our upbeat energy into what will make us feel productive and accomplished when all is said and done.
Want to test out these findings for yourself? Shop our go-to cleaning products for the next time you’re in a great mood, and share your verdict below.