The impulse to leave work early, splurge on a two-pound steak and fifteen year old whisky, and spend the night drunk-dialling might make for a great Friday, but it’ll ruin the rest of your week when regret and shame kicks in. Turns out, the guy who works until closing time, eats a sensible and balanced diet, and hits the hay early is living a happier life.
A study published in the Journal of Personality has found that people with more self-control are generally happier. To measure this, they conducted two experiments. In the first, 414 participants completed an online survey about their happiness, their desires, and their self-control. In the second, researchers had 205 report on their moods throughout the week, also reporting on any desires they had, how strongly they were felt, and whether they acted upon them.
The researchers found that people who reported more self-control were, overall, happier. More interestingly, they also reported higher short-term happiness, which researchers did not expect. As it turns out, giving into temptation might remove the temptation, but it sure won’t make you happier.