11:33AM BST 15 Oct 2012
Being selfish really does make us happier – so long as we can avoid feeling guilty, according to a new scientific study.
Although we are taught the benefits of kindness and altruism, it seems we are happiest when simply told to pursue our own self-interest.
Researchers found the key to contentment is feeling we have no choice but to be selfish.
In contrast, the study, carried out by psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania, found that those who actively choose a selfish path usually have to battle with guilt.
They speculated that because we’re taught as children that ‘sharing means caring’, if we make a decision out of self-interest, we often feel bad for prioritising ourselves over others.
But that frequently means we forego the things we know will make us happy.
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Also see Are We Fundamentally Selfish or Altruistic?, How Can Thinking About Death Make You Healthier?, Are Humble People More Helpful?, Are Single Ladies Too Selfish? and Being Lopsided Makes You A Better Leader?