April 10

The effort to start an activity and the promotion of well-being

Posted by aadsera

According to Sonja Lyubomirsky, Kennon M. Sheldon and David Schkade (2005), engaging in an activity requires at least two kinds of effort: 1) the effort required to initiate the activity and 2) the effort required to carry out and maintain this activity.

It is obvious that the beneficial effects of both physical and psychologically healthy activities are only obtained if the person first initiates the activity. But starting an activity requires an important effort of self-regulation, self-discipline and willpower. Research indicates that this capacity for self-regulation is like a psychological “muscle” that can be learned to develop. People who have managed to develop this ability to "get started" in pleasant activities have more potential for achieving happiness in life. They are people who choose activities that fit their personality, making it easier to make the effort to start activities.

Getting used to starting activities supposes the practice of executive functions, which depend on the prefrontal areas of the brain. Prefrontal areas are a giant shaft made up of neural connections that in turn regulate other parts of the brain. This neuropsychological integration is one of the pillars of mental health and well-being (Adserá 2013), so it is important to practice this ability to "start and get going" every day.

References:
Lyudomirsky, S., Sheldon, K.M., Schkade, D. (2005). “Pursuing Happiness: The Architecture of Sustainable Change.” Review of General Psychology, 9(2), 111-131.
Adserá, A. (2013). Positive Psychology Therapies. Tarragona: 3Temas.