Everyday happiness: Gifting and eating as everyday activities that influence general positive affect and discrete positive emotions


  • Robert Hurling Unilever
  • Peter Alex Linley Centre for Applied Positive Psychology
  • Helen Dovey Centre for Applied Positive Psychology
  • John Maltby University of Leicester, UK
  • Joy Wilkinson Unilever


Gifting, eating, positive affect, positive emotion


Positive psychology interventions have tended to be intentional cognitive and / or behavioural activities, specifically designed by researchers to increase happiness and wellbeing. In everyday life, however, people naturally undertake activities to increase their happiness and wellbeing. In this study, we examine and compare gifting and eating as two types of everyday activity that influence Positive Affect and so also happiness and wellbeing. Two hundred participants were allocated to four groups to examine the impact of gifting and eating, both individually and combined, relative to a control group, on happiness and wellbeing. Results show that giving a desirable food (ice cream) to another person as a gift increases Positive Affect but not discrete positive emotions, whereas both eating and giving an ice cream as a gift increase both Positive Affect and discrete positive emotions. The discussion focuses on the role of everyday activities in enhancing Positive Affect with the accumulative potential to increase everyday happiness.


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