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Help guests conquer sadness and binge eating, new research shows how
By Megan Whitby 28 Jan 2020
The research found that thinking of sadness as a ‘person’ can reduce its effects
Spa operators could help guests reduce feelings of sadness, successfully conquer binge-eating challenges and improve self-control and discipline, using learnings from new research published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

Called When sadness comes alive, will it be less painful? The effects of anthropomorphic thinking on sadness regulation and consumption, the research found that thinking of sadness as a ‘person’ – psychologists call this anthropomorphising – can reduce its effects, according to teams at University of Austin, Texas, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Hong Kong Baptist University.

With mental wellness interventions and programmes becoming increasingly popular in the spa and wellness industry, this research and its approach could inform future treatments and help equip guests to take control of their emotions.

Previous studies have shown that someone feeling sad exhibits a desire for urgent reward and little willpower, such as succumbing to hedonic temptations or engaging in impulsive purchases.

Authored by Li Yang in Austin and Rocky Peng Chen and Fangyuan Chen in Hong Kong, the study explores how anthropomorphic thinking influences people’s experience of sadness and their subsequent behaviour as consumers.

The research included six test studies involving 1059 participants, 56 per cent of which were female and 44 per cent were male.

Each test involved subjects rating their level of sadness following different psychological prompts designed to induce sadness, such as writing about a sad event which had happened to them.

Participants were then asked to imagine sadness as a person and describe their characteristics and conclude by rating their levels of sadness again.

All six studies demonstrated that anthropomorphising sadness reduces its severity and changes behaviour.

Yang told Spa Business: “We found that anthropomorphic thinking enables individuals to view sadness as an independent human being that is separate from them and consequently creates a feeling of detachment.

“As a result, an individual who anthropomorphises sadness will feel less sad and will also tend to display better self-control in subsequent decisions about consumption.”

The new study showed that humanising sadness counteracts these effects and has a positive impact on consumer decision-making, as participants involved in anthropomorphic thinking experienced an increase in self-control.

“When faced with purchasing decisions, we found that participants were more likely to choose a product with practical features over an alternative with indulgent features, once they had anthropomorphised their sadness,” said the authors.

“This occurs because anthropomorphic thinking leads to a feeling of detachment from the target emotion.”

One of the studies involved participants anthropomorphising their sadness and subsequently choosing between a healthy food option (salad) versus an unhealthy choice (cheesecake).

Evidence highlighted that those who humanised sadness were less likely to indulge in the unhealthy choice because as their sadness reduced so did their self-indulgent behaviour.

The paper also touches on the benefits of combatting sadness with detached reappraisal – a method where people are encouraged to think of their role in past or present situations as observers rather than actors, hence creating a feeling of distance.

The idea is that reinterpreting a negative situation can help people reprocess their emotions or reduce the effects of their negative experienced emotions.


News
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14 Jul 2020
Italian destination spa and hotel, Preidlhof, in South Tyrol, has reopened with new measures and offerings designed to address the guests’ needs and challenges following global lockdown. The spa team will support guests in dealing ... More
14 Jul 2020
Ayurvedic product house, Subtle Energies, has developed two programmes for people coming out of isolation to help restore their bodies physically, mentally and emotionally. The company is working with select properties by Six Senses, Peninsula ... More
13 Jul 2020
Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley, US, is the world’s first hotel to feature Tonal, an intelligent in-room gym and personal trainer, for guests to use at their convenience. Four Seasons implemented the new system into ... More
12 Jul 2020
Vladi Kovanic, founder of industry event, Forum HOTel&SPA, has announced the launch of a new medi-wellness event called The Medical Wellness Congress. Kovanic and Health and Beauty France, a subsidiary of the Bolognafiere Cosmoprof group, ... More
10 Jul 2020
England and Scotland have become the most recent countries to announce their spas will reopen, following a hard-fought campaign by industry associations, operators and the media. Spas will be permitted to reopen from Monday 13 ... More
09 Jul 2020
Luxury country house hotel, Beaverbrook Hotel and Spa, in Leatherhead, UK, has curated a series of wild wellness experiences to assist with both emotional and physical wellbeing following its reopening on 4 July. The new ... More
09 Jul 2020
WTS International has snapped up Todd Walter as its new president, following the demise of Mynd Spa & Salon – formerly The Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salon & Spa – where he was CEO. Walter ... More
08 Jul 2020
Healing Hotels of the World is hosting a virtual Master Class with wellness experts from luxury destination spas, Rancho la Puerta and The Farm at San Benito. Sarah Livia Brightwood, president of Rancho La Puerta ... More
08 Jul 2020
The government of Dubai has announced that spas and massage centres across the emirate can now open for business following the coronavirus lockdown on 15 March. It revealed the news on 3 July in its ... More
07 Jul 2020
According to CEO of Aromatherapy Associates (AA), Anna Teal, online retail has been crucial for business following enforced closure of spas. Speaking exclusively to Spa Business, Teal shared how the company has pivoted its online ... More
07 Jul 2020
The Global Wellness Summit (GWS) has switched venues from Tel Aviv to the US following travel disruption due to the pandemic. The event will now take place from 8-11 November 2020 at The Breakers in ... More
02 Jul 2020
Planning permission has been submitted for a naturally filtered thermal experience and botanical spa and wellbeing hub on a dutch barge moored in West India Quay, London. Conceptualised by bodywork therapist Nico Thoemmes, the Water ... More
     
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NEWS
Help guests conquer sadness and binge eating, new research shows how
POSTED 28 Jan 2020 . BY Megan Whitby
The research found that thinking of sadness as a ‘person’ can reduce its effects Credit: Shutterstock
Spa operators could help guests reduce feelings of sadness, successfully conquer binge-eating challenges and improve self-control and discipline, using learnings from new research published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

Called When sadness comes alive, will it be less painful? The effects of anthropomorphic thinking on sadness regulation and consumption, the research found that thinking of sadness as a ‘person’ – psychologists call this anthropomorphising – can reduce its effects, according to teams at University of Austin, Texas, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Hong Kong Baptist University.

With mental wellness interventions and programmes becoming increasingly popular in the spa and wellness industry, this research and its approach could inform future treatments and help equip guests to take control of their emotions.

Previous studies have shown that someone feeling sad exhibits a desire for urgent reward and little willpower, such as succumbing to hedonic temptations or engaging in impulsive purchases.

Authored by Li Yang in Austin and Rocky Peng Chen and Fangyuan Chen in Hong Kong, the study explores how anthropomorphic thinking influences people’s experience of sadness and their subsequent behaviour as consumers.

The research included six test studies involving 1059 participants, 56 per cent of which were female and 44 per cent were male.

Each test involved subjects rating their level of sadness following different psychological prompts designed to induce sadness, such as writing about a sad event which had happened to them.

Participants were then asked to imagine sadness as a person and describe their characteristics and conclude by rating their levels of sadness again.

All six studies demonstrated that anthropomorphising sadness reduces its severity and changes behaviour.

Yang told Spa Business: “We found that anthropomorphic thinking enables individuals to view sadness as an independent human being that is separate from them and consequently creates a feeling of detachment.

“As a result, an individual who anthropomorphises sadness will feel less sad and will also tend to display better self-control in subsequent decisions about consumption.”

The new study showed that humanising sadness counteracts these effects and has a positive impact on consumer decision-making, as participants involved in anthropomorphic thinking experienced an increase in self-control.

“When faced with purchasing decisions, we found that participants were more likely to choose a product with practical features over an alternative with indulgent features, once they had anthropomorphised their sadness,” said the authors.

“This occurs because anthropomorphic thinking leads to a feeling of detachment from the target emotion.”

One of the studies involved participants anthropomorphising their sadness and subsequently choosing between a healthy food option (salad) versus an unhealthy choice (cheesecake).

Evidence highlighted that those who humanised sadness were less likely to indulge in the unhealthy choice because as their sadness reduced so did their self-indulgent behaviour.

The paper also touches on the benefits of combatting sadness with detached reappraisal – a method where people are encouraged to think of their role in past or present situations as observers rather than actors, hence creating a feeling of distance.

The idea is that reinterpreting a negative situation can help people reprocess their emotions or reduce the effects of their negative experienced emotions.
The new study showed that humanising sadness counteracts these effects and has a positive impact on consumer decision-making
MORE NEWS
Psychology professor trains Preidlhof’s therapists how to help guests recover from lockdown
Italian destination spa and hotel, Preidlhof, in South Tyrol, has reopened with new measures and offerings designed to address the guests’ needs and challenges following global lockdown.
Subtle Energies develops programmes to support emotional and physical recovery from lockdown
Ayurvedic product house, Subtle Energies, has developed two programmes for people coming out of isolation to help restore their bodies physically, mentally and emotionally.
Four Seasons Silicon Valley brings wellness refresh to guest rooms with Tonal wellbeing upgrade
Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley, US, is the world’s first hotel to feature Tonal, an intelligent in- room gym and personal trainer, for guests to use at their convenience.
Alberto Apostoli, Laszlo Puczko and Martin Goldman to speak at inaugural Medical Wellness Congress
Vladi Kovanic, founder of industry event, Forum HOTel&SPA, has announced the launch of a new medi-wellness event called The Medical Wellness Congress.
Jubilation as spas set to reopen in England and Scotland following gruelling lobbying campaign
England and Scotland have become the most recent countries to announce their spas will reopen, following a hard-fought campaign by industry associations, operators and the media.
Wild wellness: Beaverbrook Hotel and Spa develops nature-based wellness experiences
Luxury country house hotel, Beaverbrook Hotel and Spa, in Leatherhead, UK, has curated a series of wild wellness experiences to assist with both emotional and physical wellbeing following its reopening on 4 July.
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