Groundhog Day and the Psychology of Happiness

Cheer up. It might never…

Over what seems like the interminable days, weeks and months of the past Year of the Pandemic we’ve watched an awful lot of TV.

Because we’re Old School and can’t always be dealing with modern tech.

And one of the things we’ve watched quite a few times is Groundhog Day.

And since we couldn’t get out and about filming our usual educational stuff, we thought it might be an interesting – and perhaps a little thought-provoking – exercise to build a commentary around the film and its take on the psychology of happiness.

So we did.

Even though it took many months to put together, we’ve eventually managed to construct a 10-minute film based around the events of GHD (as we’ve come to know and love it) that poses the question:

“Could a film really help you make changes to your life that could make you happier?”.

And one of the answers we came up with is that Groundhog Day seems to have touched on a common human experience; feeling trapped in a repeating cycle of daily life that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere (sound familiar?).

And while the solution to Lockdown Life seems obvious – get a new life, get what you think you want – there’s a problem.

Decades of psychological research have shown how little changes in life circumstances affect our long-term happiness, something psychologists call the hedonic treadmill: running very fast to stay in exactly the same place.

 And this is where Groundhog Day comes in.

We see someone finally finding happiness and fulfilment, even though everything around them stays exactly the same.

And so Groundhog Day and the Psychology of Happiness uses extensive footage from the Bill Murray classic as the background for an exploration of both the psychology of happiness and our understanding of how we might achieve some form of personal happiness in these difficult times.

Or something.

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