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Positive Interventions: A Comparison of Increased Happiness Resulting from Completing Actions Involving Kindness and Gratitude

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Along with life and liberty, the pursuit of happiness is among the most fundamental ideals in American society. The men who founded the United States of America in the late 18th century listed these three values as “unalienable rights” for the citizens of the new nation they were forming. In a recent study looking at the pursuit of happiness, Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, and Schkade state, “If it is meaningful and important to pursue happiness, then it is crucial to find out how this can be accomplished” (2005, p. 126). In later work, Sheldon and Lyubomirsky (2006) observe that little research has been done to uncover the exact methods in which happiness increases. The views offered by the authors of these previous research projects are vital to the current investigation because there is evidence that even though happiness is pursued, happiness is not accomplished by the majority of Americans. A Harris Poll, recently published by Harris Interactive (2013), reveals that only 33% of Americans are very happy. This infers that over 200,000,000 Americans could be happier. Sin and Lyubomirsky (2009) report that people in individualist cultures (of which the United States is a clear example) benefit more from positive psychological interventions, such as acts of kindness and activities involving gratitude.
Previous work shows that performing both of these activities can positively affect well-being. Emmons and McCollough (2003) identify increases in positive affect and decreases
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