PSYCH  Vol.9 No.6 , June 2018
Concerns Involving the Self: What Is the Real Target of Anxiety, Regret, or Worry, When Things Do Not Go Right for You? More Evidence from Sweden and the United States
Author(s) Kohji Hayase
ABSTRACT
More than 1000 respondents in Sweden (2013) and the US (2014) were asked to report their subjective opinions and attitudes about situations that caused them regret, concern, worry, and anxiety. US respondents self-identified as Black. Although exploratory factor analyses extracted many latent factors from the 80 questions, a common latent inner factor was extracted from five questions that examined key psychological phenomena: worry at the present time, bothersome concerns in the present, regret for the past, anxiety about the future, and unpleasant experience in the past. Confirmatory factor analyses and structural equation modeling of the latent variables (SEM/LV) provided convincing evidence of the existence of a common latent inner factor in both countries. Because each of the five key phenomena reflected concerns involving the self, the common latent inner factor was labeled “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self.” Then, the same latent inner factor was also confirmed in SEM/LV of combinations of data from Swedish and US Black respondents, and from respondents in a previous study (Japanese, and US respondents who identified as White; Hayase, 2016). Women, younger people, and people with lower levels of education were less able to detach from concerns involving the self than men, older people, and people with higher levels of education. Confirmatory factor analyses by SEM/LV provided additional evidence of the existence of a common latent inner factor for the five phenomena, worry, bothersome concerns, regret, anxiety, and unpleasant experience. Psychological and philosophical implications of the latent inner factor with regard to genuine happiness were discussed.

to Detach, How to Detach, Anxiety, Regret, Worry, Genuine Happiness

1. Introduction

About one hundred years ago, the French philosopher Alain (1907) said, “One is not laughing because one is happy, instead, I should say that one is happy because one is laughing.” This statement is probably surprising to many people who hold the common belief that laughter results from happiness and that happiness is “episodic” (Raibley, 2012) . The typical impression is that happiness follows this sequence of events. Step 1: Some episodes occur or events happen to someone. Step 2: The person who experiences the episode or event feels happy because of it. Step 3: The person laughs because of this happiness.

This type of episodic happiness is passive, limited, and unstable, because it is determined by the kinds of episodes or events that occur in your life. But although these episodes are transitory, they may affect your mind. If things did not go right for you during episodes in the past, you may end up regretting them forever (Saffrey et al., 2008; Roese et al., 2009; Bidjerano, 2010; Komiya et al., 2012) . If you believe that episodes in the future will be such that things will not go right for you, you will not be able to cut loose from anxiety about them (Zinbarg, 1998; Carleton et al., 2007; Hoffman et al., 2008; Bidjerano, 2010; Carleton et al., 2012) . And if things are not going right for you at the present time, you may find it almost impossible to get your mind off current worries that are bothering you (Freeston et al., 1994; Bergman & Craske, 2000; Brosschot et al., 2006; Sugiura, 2007; McEvoy et al., 2010; Bidjerano, 2010; Stokes & Hirsch, 2010) . Your regrets, anxiety, and/or worries may lead to negative rumination (Nolen-Hoeksema et al., 2008; Taku, 2009) or repetitive negative thinking (Ehring & Watkins, 2008; Ehring et al., 2011) .

But if, as Alain proposed, one is happy because one is laughing, happiness does not depend on specific episodes and the situation is very different from the episodic happiness that is commonly considered.

What kind of happiness is this? What do you do when things do not go right for you? First, you may act to alter the situation. If you can change the situation to produce a satisfactory result, you may be satisfied, and you will be able to experience episodic happiness (Raibley, 2012) . A number of studies have examined the relationship of episodic happiness and satisfaction (e.g. Diener et al., 1985a; Diener et al., 1985b; Schimmack & Oishi, 2005; Oishi & Sullivan, 2006; Nickerson et al., 2007; Xiao & Li, 2011 ). But if you cannot change the situation to obtain a satisfactory outcome, what can you do? If you still think that things will be able to improve, you will try again to alter the conditions by other means. However, after repeated failures, you finally understand that the situation cannot be altered any more. Such occasions happen every second of every day. What do you do when this occurs, and things just don’t go right for you?

This is an important problem, and it is significant to investigate and solve it in order to discover and clarify the circumstances of true happiness, not merely episodic happiness (Raibley, 2012) . An Internet survey about people’s mental constructs related to happiness was previously conducted on adults in Japan and adults in the US who self-identified as White, as reported in Hayase (2016) . The present study reports a similar survey administered to adults in Sweden and to adults in the US who self-identified as Black. The questionnaire included the same eighty psychological and philosophical questions and four demographic questions about gender, age, education, and income that were used by Hayase (2016) . In an exploratory analysis, many psychological latent factors were extracted from the eighty questions. Confirmatory factor analyses were carried out that included these attributes. Among the many psychological inner latent factors, the same inner latent factor “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” was extracted, as in the earlier report (Hayase, 2016) . The present study examines the important factors related to the themes “Real happiness which is independent of any episode” and “What do you do when you find that things are finally and certainly not going right for you?”

The present study had three main goals: 1) to make it easier to identify the true inner target or object about which people are anxious, worried, and/or regretful when things do not go right for you; 2) to confirm the existence of the inner latent factor “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self,” which was identified in an earlier study of the US and Japan (Hayase, 2016) by providing new statistical data from Sweden and the US; and 3) to examine the concept of “genuine happiness,” which differs from the episodic happiness deriving from unstable episodes.

Summary of the Previous Report (Hayase, 2016) for Japanese and US (White Ethnicity) Samples

A total of 1060 Japanese respondents (529 men and 531 women; average age 44.1 years, standard deviation 13.9) participated in 2012. Respondents were registered with a social survey company, INTAGE Inc., which has over one million respondents all over Japan. Each year within each age decade was represented by a group of respondents (e.g., for women, 13 20-year-olds, 4 21-year olds, 8 22-year-olds, 11 23-year-olds, and so on).

A total of 1125 US respondents who self-identified as “White” for their ethnicity (540 men and 585 women; average age 44.7 years, standard deviation 14.1) participated in 2012. Respondents were registered with a social survey company, Survey Sampling International, which has over one million respondents from all over the United States.

Table 1 and Table 7 of Hayase (2016) provide the demographic profile and age distribution of the US and Japanese respondents, respectively. For both US and Japanese White ethnicity samples, there was no correlation between gender and age.

Table 1. Cross tabulation scores by gender and age group and frequency distributions of responses to Q5L5 of Swedish respondents in 2013, showing number (percentage) who selected each response.

The questionnaire, procedures, and path analysis (SEM: Structural Equation Modeling) for both Japanese and US (White ethnicity) samples were identical to those used in the present Studies 1 and 2.

2. Study 1: Sweden, 2013

2.1. Method

2.1.1. Respondents

It is well known that many substantial cultural variations exist between independent (e.g., Euro-American) and interdependent (e.g., Asian) cultures (Uchida et al., 2004; Uchida et al., 2008; Uchida et al., 2009) . A Swedish sample was selected to represent an independent culture and to contrast effectively with the former Japanese sample that represented an interdependent culture (Hayase, 2016) . A total of 1049 Swedish respondents (517 men and 532 women; average age 45.1 years, standard deviation 14.4) participated. Respondents were registered with a social survey company, Survey Sampling International. The Total column of Table 1 shows the age distribution of the respondents. Each year within each age decade was represented by a number of respondents (e.g., for women, 14 20-year-olds, 10 21-year olds, 6 22-year-olds, 10 23-year-olds, and so on). There was no correlation between gender and age, and the demographic distribution of the respondents was statistically ideal for the study of correlations of factors with gender and age.

2.1.2. Measurement of Variables

The questionnaire included a brief demographic survey asking gender Q1 (Men:1, Women:2) and age Q2. Respondents selected one of the following options to indicate their individual annual income Q3: (1) Less than 20 thousand SEK (Sweden krona), (2) Between 20 and 50 thousand SEK, (3) Between 50 and 100 thousand SEK, (4)… (9), (10) Between 45 and 50 thousand SEK, (11)… (13), (14) Between 2000 and 4000 thousand SEK, (15) 4000 thousand SEK or more, (16) Don’t know/Prefer not to answer. Respondents selected one of the following options to indicate their level of education Q4: (1) Graduated from primary school, (2) Graduated from junior high school, (3) Graduated from high school or vocational school, (4) Graduated from specialized vocational school or junior college, (5) Graduated from university, (6) Graduated from graduate school.

The questionnaire, which was translated into Swedish, included a total of 80 questions (Q5L1 to Q12L10). A single latent inner factor was extracted from the following five critical questions, as in the earlier study (Hayase, 2016) . Q5L5: “I am often not able to cut loose from worries even when things were certainly found not to go right for me.” Q8L1: “I find it almost impossible to get my mind off concerns that are bothering me.” Q8L4: “I often end up regretting something forever.” Q8L7: “I am not able to cut loose from uneasy occurrence and anxiety which may happen in the future.” Q8L10:“I find it almost impossible to get my mind off an unpleasant experience once I have had it.” Respondents selected one of the following options to answer: strongly agree, agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, disagree, and strongly disagree. The six alternatives were shown in the above order, and the items were not numbered. Respondents were asked to report their subjective opinions and/or attitudes toward the situation in the question.

The questions corresponding to Q5, Q6, and Q8 are provided in the Appendix for reference.

2.1.3. Procedures

Participants in Sweden were randomly selected from the subscribers of Survey Sampling International, and the questionnaires were sent to them via the Internet. When the number of respondents who completed questionnaires exceeded 1000, the survey was closed. The respondents completed the questionnaires at some time from the 9th to the 16th of January 2013. The respondents received compensation for participating in the survey. All respondents provided informed consent.

The sampling bias of respondents was small, as Survey Sampling International rigorously performs identity verification and maintenance after respondent registration. In the process of individual identity verification, Survey Sampling International sends a packet to the respondent’s registered address to verify the individual’s identity and location. Survey Sampling International prevents double respondent registration by checking duplicate email addresses. In performing maintenance after respondent registration, Survey Sampling International conducts quality surveys and checks the cookies stored on the respondents’ computers.

2.1.4. Statistical Analysis

Path analysis (Structural Equation Modeling; SEM) was selected rather than multiple regression analysis for the following reasons. When analyzing three variables A, B and C, in which A predicts B and B predicts C, it is necessary to consider a model of chaining predictions, which admits different variables and permits an evaluation of model appropriateness by path analysis (SEM). However, such a model cannot be analyzed by means of multiple regression analysis, because in such an analysis, each A, B or C can be only an independent or a dependent variable. Moreover, the set for path analysis (SEM) completely includes the set for multiple regression analysis. Therefore, path analysis (SEM) was selected over multiple regression analysis.

2.2. Results and Discussion

2.2.1. Confirmatory Factor Analyses by Structural Equation Modeling of the Latent Variables (SEM/LV)

Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were used to demonstrate the statistical validity of latent factors obtained from the questionnaire.

While many psychological latent factors were extracted from the eighty questions of the questionnaire in the exploratory factor analysis, special attention was paid to a latent inner factor extracted from the five questions Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7, and Q8L10 (Cronbach’s alpha 0.853), which represent rather different psychological phenomena: Q5L5 (“I am often not able to cut loose from worries even when things were certainly found not to go right for me”) represents “worry” at the present time; Q8L1 (“I find it almost impossible to get my mind off concerns that are bothering me”) reflects “bothersome concerns” in the present; Q8L4 (“I often end up regretting something forever”) indicates “regret” for the past; Q8L7 (“I am not able to cut loose from uneasy occurrence and anxiety which may happen in the future”) reflects “anxiety” about the future; and Q8L10 (“I find it almost impossible to get my mind off an unpleasant experience once I have had it”) indicates “unpleasant experience” in the past. In order to demonstrate the statistical validity of the latent factor extracted from these different phenomena, a confirmatory factor analysis was carried out.

The confirmatory factor analysis of the latent factor and structural equation modeling of the latent variables (SEM/LV) were carried out using Amos 19. Frequency distributions of responses to Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7, and Q8L10 of Swedish sample are represented in Tables 1-5 as cross tabulation scores by gender and age group. The analysis included the attributes of gender, age, level of education, and annual income, which predicted the latent factor, as illustrated

Table 2. Cross tabulation scores by gender and age group and frequency distributions of responses to Q8L1 of Swedish respondents in 2013, showing number (percentage) who selected each response.

Table 3. Cross tabulation scores by gender and age group and frequency distributions of responses to Q8L4 of Swedish respondents in 2013, showing number (percentage) who selected each response.

Table 4. Cross tabulation scores by gender and age group and frequency distributions of responses to Q8L7 of Swedish respondents in 2013, showing number (percentage) who selected each response.

Table 5. Cross tabulation scores by gender and age group and frequency distributions of responses to Q8L10 of Swedish respondents in 2013, showing number (percentage) who selected each response.

in Figure 1. In this path analysis, the relationship with predictivity (not causality) was as follows. It was assumed that gender, age, level of education, and annual income would predict the latent factor in Figure 1. Gender and age are basic predictors that are not predicted by anything else, and it is reasonable to assume that gender and age might predict the level of education and annual income.

Figure 1. Confirmatory factor analysis of “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” and SEM/LV including the four attributes (gender, age, level of education and annual income) that predicted the factor, in the Swedish sample. Correlation coefficients between “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” and the four attributes are shown only for paths with p < 0.05. The attributes were as follows: [Q1]: Gender (Men to Women); [Q2]: Age; [Q3]: Annual income; [Q4]: Level of education, [Q5L5] indicated respondents’ inability to cut loose from worries even when things are certainly found not to go right for them. [Q8L1] indicated respondents’ inability to get their minds off concerns that are bothering them. [Q8L4] indicated that respondents’ inability to not end up regretting something forever. [Q8L7] indicated respondents’ inability to cut loose from uneasy occurrences and anxiety which may happen in the future. [Q8L10] indicated respondents’ inability to get their minds off an unpleasant experience once they have had it. Factor loadings for [Q5L5], [Q8L1] [Q8L4] [Q8L7] and [Q8L10] (all p < 0.001) are indicated along the paths. Square of multiple correlation coefficients (R2) are indicated on the shoulder of each dependent variable.

On the other hand, the level of education may predict annual income, because the mean level of education is decided around or below twenty years of age, whereas mean annual income from an occupation is decided at a rather older age. Therefore level of education was assumed to predict annual income.

In Figure 1, only significant paths are drawn (p < 0.05); the latent factor is a latent variable, unnamed at present; and attributes are the observed variables as predictors. Goodness of fit for SEM/LV was acceptable: RMSEA was 0.038 (RMSEA ≤ 0.06 or less; Hu & Bentler, 1999 ), CFI was 0.984, and factor loadings were 0.644 for Q5L5 (p < 0.001), 0.746 for Q8L1 (p < 0.001), 0.675 for Q8L4 (p < 0.001), 0.774 for Q8L7 (p < 0.001), and 0.828 for Q8L10 (p < 0.001). The model fit was good, because direct paths connected nearly all variables. We specified the direction of scoring to make the nature of associations between the variables clearer. Table 6 provides more detailed information, including the matrix of correlations among all variables along with their means, SDs, correlation coefficients, and covariances. The significance tests for the paths are based on standardized coefficients. Square of multiple correlation coefficients (R2) were also added on a shoulder of each dependent variable in Figure 1.

Table 6. Means, standard deviations, correlation coefficients (Coef.) and covariances (Cova.) for Q1, Q2, Q4, Q3, Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10 of Swedish respondents in 2013.

Wang & Wang (2012) have noted the following limitations of the chi square statistic. First, because chi-square is defined as N − 1 times the fitting function, it is highly sensitive to sample size. With larger sample sizes, the probability of rejecting the model increases, resulting in Type I error (rejecting a correct hypothesis), even though differences between observed and model estimated variance/covariance matrices are trivial. Because this study used a considerably large sample of over 1000 participants, use of chi-square (as well as the related Cramer’s V) was inappropriate.

Because each observational variable (Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10) is equal to the true value + error, the sum of the errors is also represented in the weighted sum. Therefore, weighted sum errors do not decrease and may rather increase by addition, resulting in the well-known phenomenon of “rarefaction” or “thinning”. It has often been observed from data that the absolute values of correlation coefficients between observed variables are smaller than absolute values of correlation coefficients between latent factors. This is also regarded as a manifestation of rarefaction or thinning, indicating that correlations between observed variables that are the sum of errors and true values are lower than correlations between true values that are latent factors without the addition of errors.

As a result, the absolute value of the correlation coefficient between the weighted sums should be lower than that of the correlation coefficient between latent variables obtained by factor analysis. On the other hand, the latent variable in SEM (path analysis) is expected to be rather closer to the true value than the weighted sum, if Cronbach’s alpha is higher and the number of observational variables is larger. RMSEA (lower than 0.06) is useful (Hu & Bentler, 1999) for evaluating the goodness of fit for modeling; therefore, SEM was adopted, and more importance was attached to RMSEA.

A confirmatory factor analysis by SEM/LV clearly revealed that a common latent inner factor could be extracted from the five questions.

2.2.2. What Is the Latent Inner Factor?

The five phenomena, worry (Q5L5), bothersome concern (Q8L1), regret (Q8L4), anxiety (Q8L7), and unpleasant experience (Q8L10) are seemingly considered to be distinct psychological phenomena (Ehring & Watkins, 2008; McEvoy et al., 2010) . The time focus of the questions also differed: present (Q5L5, Q8L1), past (Q8L4, Q8L10), and future (Q8L7). Therefore, it may seem a little implausible that a common latent inner factor could be extracted from the five questions (Davey et al., 1992; Stober & Joormann, 2001) . On the other hand, Zebb (1998) reported that measures of worry and anxiety were highly correlated, and personal control did not show a differential relationship to anxiety or worry. Also, Bidjerano (2010) discussed a psychological phenomenon that includes disappointed feeling, as well as anxiety, worry, and regret that was investigated in Bulgaria and the US using structural equation modeling (SEM). In the present study, the confirmatory factor analyses by SEM/LV provided convincing evidence of the existence of a common latent inner factor for the five questions and phenomena. The next steps are to interpret and label the latent factor.

Although the five questions looked outwardly at different psychological phenomena (e.g., Davey et al., 1992; Freeston et al., 1996; Stober & Joormann, 2001; Ehring & Watkins, 2008; McEvoy et al., 2010 ), as identified above, other key phrases in the questions are also important: “not able to cut loose” from worries in Q5L5, “impossible to get my mind off” concerns in Q8L1, “end up regretting” in Q8L4, “not able to cut loose” from anxiety in Q8L7, and “impossible to get my mind off” an unpleasant experience in Q8L10. All five phenomena are related to “Being unable to detach from” some mental phenomenon. “Being unable to detach from” was found to be common to worry, bothersome concerns, regret, anxiety, and unpleasant experience in past, present, and future. This common latent inner factor was labeled “Being unable to detach from some concern.”

The next step is to investigate what is represented by “some concern” in the latent inner factor. The key meanings of worry, bothersome concern, regret, anxiety, and unpleasant experience suggest that “concerns involving the self” derive from the five different mental phenomena. Thus, for the time being, the latent inner factor is labeled “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” in Figure 1.

3. Study 2: US, 2014

3.1. Method

3.1.1. Respondents

The US population comprises many different ethnicities of both independent and interdependent cultural origins (White, Hispanic, Black, Asian, Native, Pacific Islander, etc.), and these differences may affect survey results. Therefore a single US ethnicity, Black, was selected to contrast effectively with the former results of a sample of US respondents identifying as White (representing an independent culture) and a Japanese sample (representing an interdependent culture). A total of 1042 US respondents who selected “Black” as their ethnicity (513 men and 529 women; average age 44.4 years, standard deviation 14.2) participated. Respondents were registered with Survey Sampling International. Total column of Table 7 shows the age distribution of the respondents. Each year within each age decade was represented by a number of respondents (e.g., for women, 12 20-year-olds, 11 21-year olds, 11 22-year-olds, 8 23-year-olds, and so on). There was no correlation between gender and age, and the demographic distribution of the respondents was statistically ideal for the study of correlations of factors with gender and age.

3.1.2. Measurement of Variables

The questionnaire included a brief demographic survey asking gender Q1 and age Q2. Respondents selected one of the following options to indicate their individual annual income Q3: (1) Less than 5 thousand USD (US dollars), (2) Between 5 and 10 thousand USD, (3) Between 10 and 15 thousand USD, (4)… (9),

Table 7. Cross tabulation scores by gender and age group and frequency distributions of responses to Q5L5 of US Blackrespondents in 2014, showing number (percentage) who selected each response.

(10) Between 45 and 50 thousand USD, (11)… (13), (14) Between 200 and 400 thousand USD, (15) 400 thousand USD or more, (16) Don’t know/Prefer not to answer. Respondents selected one of the same options as in Study 1 to indicate their level of education Q4.

The questionnaire was the same as that in Study 1, and respondents selected response options in the same manner. A latent inner factor was also extracted from the five questions Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7, Q8L10, similar to Study 1.

3.1.3. Procedures

The participants were randomly selected from the subscribers of Survey Sampling International, and the questionnaires were sent to them via the Internet. The respondents completed the questionnaires at some time from the 23th to the 30th of January 2014. The respondents received compensation for participating in the survey. All respondents provided informed consent.

As in Study 1, the sampling bias of respondents was small because Survey Sampling International rigorously performs identity verification and maintenance after respondent registration.

3.1.4. Statistical Analysis

Path analysis (SEM: Structural Equation Modeling) was selected, as in Study 1.

3.2. Results and Discussion

3.2.1. Confirmatory Factor Analyses by Structural Equation Modeling of the Latent Variables (SEM/LV)

Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were used to demonstrate the statistical validity of latent factors obtained from the questionnaire, as in Study 1.

While many psychological latent factors were extracted from the eighty questions in the questionnaire in the exploratory analysis, a latent inner factor was extracted from the five questions Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10 (Cronbach’s alpha 0.828), as in Study 1. In order to demonstrate the statistical validity of the latent factor, a confirmatory factor analysis was carried out.

The confirmatory factor analysis of the latent factor and structural equation modeling of the latent variables (SEM/LV) were carried out using Amos 19. Frequency distributions of responses to Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10 are represented in Tables 7-11 respectively, as cross tabulation scores by gender and age group. As in Study 1, the analysis included the attributes of gender, age, level of education, and annual income, which predicted the latent factor, as illustrated in Figure 2. In this path analysis, the relationship with predictivity (not causality) and attributes was similar to Study 1.

In Figure 2, only significant paths are drawn (p < 0.05), the latent factor is a latent variable “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self,” and

Table 8. Cross tabulation scores by gender and age group and frequency distributions of responses to Q8L1 of US Blackrespondents in 2014, showing number (percentage) who selected each response.

Table 9. Cross tabulation scores by gender and age group and frequency distributions of responses to Q8L4 of US Blackrespondents in 2014, showing number (percentage) who selected each response.

Table 10. Cross tabulation scores by gender and age group and frequency distributions of responses to Q8L7 of US Blackrespondents in 2014, showing number (percentage) who selected each response.

Table 11. Cross tabulation scores by gender and age group and frequency distributions of responses to Q8L10 of US Blackrespondents in 2014, showing number (percentage) who selected each response.

attributes are observed variables as predictors. Goodness of fit for SEM/LV was acceptable, with RMSEA 0.050 (RMSEA ≤ 0.06 or less; Hu & Bentler, 1999 ), CFI 0.972 and factor loadings 0.621 for Q5L5 (p < 0.001), 0.723 for Q8L1 (p < 0.001), 0.693 for Q8L4 (p < 0.001), 0.688 for Q8L7 (p < 0.001) and 0.789 for Q8L10 (p < 0.001). Table 12 provides more detailed information, including the matrix of correlations among all variables along with their means, SDs, correlation coefficients, and covariances. The significance tests for the paths are based on the standardized coefficients. Square of multiple correlation coefficients (R2) were also added on a shoulder of each dependent variable in Figure 2.

Because the sample size of Study 2 was greater than 1000 participants, which is a considerably large sample, chi-square was inappropriate. It was reasonable to adopt SEM and evaluate the goodness of fit for modeling as acceptable because the weighted sum of Q5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10 was similar to Study 1, Cronbach’s alpha was higher, the number of observational variables was larger, and RMSEA (lower than 0.06) was useful ( Hu & Bentler, 1999) .

In summary, a confirmatory factor analysis by SEM/LV verified that a common latent inner factor could be extracted from the five questions in the US Black sample as well as the Swedish sample.

Table 12. Means, standard deviations, correlation coefficients (Coef.) and covariances (Cova.) for Q1, Q2, Q4, Q3, Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10 of US Black respondents in 2014.

3.2.2. The Same Latent Inner Factor Was Found in the US Data

The same common latent inner factor, “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self,” was extracted from both Swedish and US samples. The US Black sample was compared to the Swedish sample; the effects of each attribute are discussed in Section 6. The square of the multiple correlation coefficient of the Swedish sample was 0.137 and that of the US Black sample was 0.064. This indicates that the attributes of the Swedish sample contributed more to and/or better explained the latent inner factor than those of the US Black sample. Factor loadings for Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7, and Q8L10 for the latent inner factor for the Swedish and US Black samples were 0.644, 0.746, 0.675, 0.774, and 0.828 (average 734) and 0.621, 0.723, 0.693, 0.688, and 0.789 (average 703), respectively. The loading of the latent inner factor was greater on the Swedish data than on the US Black data. The discovery of a common latent inner factor for Swedish, US, and Japanese samples indicates that the latent inner factor surely exists in the minds of both Swedish and US Black people, as well as both US White and Japanese people (Hayase, 2016) . Despite the many substantial cultural variations between independent and interdependent cultures (Uchida et al., 2004; Uchida

Figure 2. Confirmatory factor analysis of “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” and SEM/LV including the four attributes (gender, age, level of education and annual income) that predicted the factor, in the US Black sample. Correlation coefficients between “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” and the four attributes are shown only for paths with p < 0.05. The attributes were as follows: [Q1]: Gender (Men to Women); [Q2]: Age; [Q3]: Annual income; [Q4]: Level of education, [Q5L5] indicated respondents’ inability to cut loose from worries even when things are certainly found not to go right for them. [Q8L1] indicated respondents’ inability to get their minds off concerns that are bothering them. [Q8L4] indicated that respondents’ inability to not end up regretting something forever. [Q8L7] indicated respondents’ inability to cut loose from uneasy occurrences and anxiety which may happen in the future. [Q8L10] indicated respondents’ inability to get their minds off an unpleasant experience once they have had it. Factor loadings for [Q5L5], [Q8L1] [Q8L4] [Q8L7] and [Q8L10] (all p < 0.001) are indicated along the paths. Square of multiple correlation coefficients (R2) are indicated on shoulder of each dependent variable.

et al., 2008; Uchida et al., 2009) ; the present study obtained the same inner latent factor in countries representing different cultures. In order to confirm the existence of the latent inner factor, the combined data of the Swedish and the US Black respondents were statistically analyzed in Study 3.

4. Study 3: Combined Swedish and US Data

4.1. Method

In order to carry out statistical analyses, data of Studies 1 and 2 were simply combined. The total number of respondents was 2091 (1030 men and 1061 women; average age 44.71 years, standard deviation 14.3). As in Studies 1 and 2, there was no correlation between gender and age. The questionnaire and the procedures in Study 3 were identical to those used in Studies 1 and 2. Path analysis (SEM: Structural Equation Modeling) was again selected.

4.2. Results and Discussion

4.2.1. Confirmatory Factor Analyses by Structural Equation Modeling of the Latent Variables (SEM/LV)

Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were used to demonstrate the statistical validity of latent factors obtained from the questionnaire, as in Studies 1 and 2.

Again, many psychological latent factors were initially extracted from the eighty questions in the questionnaire, but a latent inner factor was extracted from five questions Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10 (Cronbach’s alpha 0.840). In order to demonstrate the statistical validity of the latent factor, a confirmatory factor analysis of the latent factor and structural equation modeling of the latent variable (SEM/LV) were carried out using Amos 19. Unlike Studies 1 and 2, the analysis included only gender and age as attributes which predicted the latent factor, as illustrated in Figure 3. Because currency rates in Sweden and the US are changing every day, and education content is substantially different in Sweden and the US, the level of education and annual income are not comparable as absolute values in the two countries. Therefore, level of education and annual income as attributes were deleted from SEM/LV in Figure 3. In this path analysis, the relationship with predictivity (not causality) and attributes was similar to Studies 1 and 2.

In Figure 3, only significant paths are drawn (p < 0.05), the latent factor is the latent variable “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self,” and attributes are observed variables as predictors. Goodness of fit for SEM/LV was acceptable, with RMSEA 0.040 (RMSEA ≤ 0.06 or less; Hu & Bentler, 1999 ), CFI 0.988, and factor loadings 0.632 for Q5L5 (p < 0.001), 0.735 for Q8L1 (p < 0.001), 0.685 for Q8L4 (p < 0.001), 0.725 for Q8L7 (p < 0.001) and 0.804 for Q8L10 (p < 0.001). More detailed information is shown in Table 13, including the matrix of correlations among all variables along with their means, SDs, correlation coefficients, and covariances. The significance tests for the paths are based on the standardized coefficients. Square of multiple correlation coefficients (R2) were also added on a shoulder of each dependent variable in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Confirmatory factor analysis of “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” and SEM/LV including the two attributes (gender and age) that predicted the factor, in the combined Swedish and US Black data. Correlation coefficients between “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” and the two attributes are shown only for paths with p < 0.05. The attributes were as follows: [Q1]: Gender (Men to Women); [Q2]: Age; [Q5L5] indicated respondents’ inability to cut loose from worries even when things are certainly found not to go right for them. [Q8L1] indicated respondents’ inability to get their minds off concerns that are bothering them. [Q8L4] indicated respondents’ inability to not end up regretting something forever. [Q8L7] indicated respondents’ inability to cut loose from uneasy occurrences and anxiety which may happen in the future. [Q8L10] indicated respondents’ inability to get their minds off an unpleasant experience once they have had it. Factor loadings for [Q5L5], [Q8L1] [Q8L4] [Q8L7] and [Q8L10] (all p < 0.001) are indicated along the paths. Square of multiple correlation coefficients (R2) are indicated on shoulder of each dependent variable.

Since the sample size of Study 3 was over 2000 participants, a considerably large sample, it was again inappropriate to use chi-square, and the weighted sum of Q5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10, Cronbach’s alpha, the number of observational variables, and RMSEA made it acceptable to adopt SEM and evaluate the goodness of fit for modeling.

In the combined Swedish and US data, the confirmatory factor analyses by

Table 13. Means, standard deviations, correlation coefficients (Coef.) and covariances (Cova.) for Q1, Q2, Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10 of the combined data for Swedish and US Black respondents.

SEM/LV revealed that a common latent inner factor could be extracted from the five questions, as in Swedish-only and the US-only samples.

4.2.2. The Same Latent Inner Factor in the Combined Swedish-US Data

Although the Internet questionnaire surveys in Study 1 and Study 2 were carried out in different places and different times, the tendency revealed in the combined data was the same as that observed with each single data set. That the same inner latent factor was obtained from the combined data of such different cultural variations suggests that the latent inner factor exists in minds of people of any country, although more data from other countries are necessary to confirm this. Thus, it appears that worry, bothersome concern, regret, anxiety, and unpleasant experience are connected to the latent inner factor labeled “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” for the combined data of both countries as well as the Swedish-only and US-only samples.

5. Study 4: Combined US, Japanese, and Swedish Data

5.1. Method

In order to carry out statistical analyses, data of Studies 1 and 2 in this study and the data of US (White ethnicity) and Japanese samples of the previous study (Hayase, 2016) were simply combined. Detailed information is shown in Table 14, including the number of respondents (men and women), mean ages (MA),

Table 14. Number of respondents (men & women), mean ages (MA), standard deviations (SD), Cronbach’s alphas (CrAlpha), RMSEA, CFI, correlation coefficients (Corr. Coef.) between “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” and attributes, factor of loadings (FL) and square of multiple correlation coefficients (R2) in the combined data of four ethnicities, US White (W), Japanese (J), Swedish (S), and US Black (B).

and standard deviations (SDs) of MA for the combinations of two, three, and all four samples. Every combination of two, three, and four samples was examined in order to rigorously test if the latent inner factor “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” is truly independent of ethnicity. As in Studies 1, 2 and 3, there was no correlation between gender and age.

The questionnaire and the procedures in Study 4 were identical to those used in Studies 1, 2, and 3. Path analysis (SEM: Structural Equation modeling) was again selected.

5.2. Results and Discussion

5.2.1. Confirmatory Factor Analyses of the Latent Variables by Structural Equation Modeling (SEM/LV)

Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were used to demonstrate the statistical validity of latent factors obtained from the questionnaire, as in Studies 1, 2, and 3.

Again, many psychological latent factors were initially extracted from the eighty questions in the questionnaire, and a latent inner factor was extracted from five questions Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10 (Cronbach’s alphas are shown in Table 14). In order to demonstrate the statistical validity of the latent inner factor, a confirmatory factor analysis of the latent inner factor and structural equation modeling of the latent variable (SEM/LV) were carried out using Amos 19. Unlike Studies 1 and 2, the analysis included only gender and age as attributes which predicted the latent inner factor, as illustrated in Figure 4,

Figure 4. Representative figure for confirmatory factor analysis of “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” and SEM/LV including the two attributes (gender and age) that predicted the factor, in the many combinations of US White, Japanese, Swedish and US Black data. Correlation coefficients between “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” and the two attributes are shown in Tables 15-23 only for paths with p < 0.05. The attributes were as follows: [Q1]: Gender (Men to Women); [Q2]: Age; [Q5L5] indicated respondents’ inability to cut loose from worries even when things are certainly found not to go right for them. [Q8L1] indicated respondents’ inability to get their minds off concerns that are bothering them. [Q8L4] indicated respondents’ inability to not end up regretting something forever. [Q8L7] indicated respondents’ inability to cut loose from uneasy occurrences and anxiety which may happen in the future. [Q8L10] indicated respondents’ inability to get their minds off an unpleasant experience once they have had it. Factor loadings (FL) for [Q5L5], [Q8L1] [Q8L4] [Q8L7] and [Q8L10] (all p < 0.001) are written in Tables 15-23, and Square of multiple correlation coefficients (R2) are indicated in Tables 15-23.

which is a representative figure applied to the data of each of the two, three, or four combined ethnicities in Table 14. Because currency rates in the US, Japan, and Sweden change every day, and education content is substantially different in the US, Japan, and Sweden, the level of education and annual income are not comparable as absolute values in the two, three, or four combined countries. Therefore, level of education and annual income as attributes were deleted from SEM/LV in Figure 4. In this path analysis, the relationship with predictivity (not causality) and attributes was similar to Studies 1, 2, and 3.

In Figure 4, only significant paths are drawn (p < 0.05) as in Table 14, the latent factor is a latent variable “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self,” and attributes are observed variables as predictors. Goodness of fit for SEM/LV was acceptable; Table 14 shows RMSEA (RMSEA ≤ 0.06 or less; Hu & Bentler, 1999 ), CFI, correlation coefficients (equivalent to path coefficients), and factor loadings (FL) (p < 0.001) for Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10. The significance tests for the paths are based on standardized coefficients. Square of multiple correlation coefficients (R2) for Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10 are also shown in Table 14. More detailed information for each of the combined data sets for the four ethnicities is shown in Tables 15-23, including the matrix of correlations among all variables along with their means, SDs, correlation coefficients and covariances.

Since the sample size of Study 4 was over 2000 participants, a considerably

Table 15. Means, standard deviations, correlation coefficients (Coef.) and covariances (Cova.) for Q1, Q2, Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10 of the combined data for US White and Swedish respondents.

Table 16. Means, standard deviations, correlation coefficients (Coef.) and covariances (Cova.) for Q1, Q2, Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10 of the combined data for US White and US Black respondents.

Table 17. Means, standard deviations, correlation coefficients (Coef.) and covariances (Cova.) for Q1, Q2, Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10 of the combined data for Japanese and Swedish respondents.

Table 18. Means, standard deviations, correlation coefficients (Coef.) and covariances (Cova.) for Q1, Q2, Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10 of the combined data for Japanese and US Black respondents.

Table 19. Means, standard deviations, correlation coefficients (Coef.) and covariances (Cova.) for Q1, Q2, Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10 of the combined data for US White, Japanese and Swedish respondents.

Table 20. Means, standard deviations, correlation coefficients (Coef.) and covariances (Cova.) for Q1, Q2, Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10 of the combined data for US White, Japanese and US Black respondents.

Table 21. Means, standard deviations, correlation coefficients (Coef.) and covariances (Cova.) for Q1, Q2, Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10 of the combined data for US White, Swedish and US Black respondents.

Table 22. Means, standard deviations, correlation coefficients (Coef.) and covariances (Cova.) for Q1, Q2, Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10 of the combined data for Japanese, Swedish and US Black respondents.

Table 23. Means, standard deviations, correlation coefficients (Coef.) and covariances (Cova.) for Q1, Q2, Q5L5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10 of the combined data for US White, Japanese, Swedish, and US Black respondents.

large sample, it was again inappropriate to use chi-square, and the weighted sum of Q5, Q8L1, Q8L4, Q8L7 and Q8L10, Cronbach’s alpha, the number of observational variables, and RMSEA made it acceptable to adopt SEM and evaluate the goodness of fit for modeling.

In all combinations of US (White and Black), Japanese, and Swedish data, the confirmatory factor analyses by SEM/LV revealed that the common latent inner factor could be extracted from the five questions, as in the individual data samples.

5.2.2. The Same Latent Inner Factor in the Combined US (White and Black), Japanese, and Swedish Data

Although the Internet questionnaire surveys in Studies 1 and 2 and in the previous studies (Hayase, 2016) were carried out in different places and at different times, the tendency revealed in all the data combinations was the same as that with each single data set. This again strongly suggests that the latent inner factor exists in the minds of people of any country, although more data from other countries may be necessary to confirm this. Thus, it appears that worry, bothersome concern, regret, anxiety, and unpleasant experience are connected to the latent inner factor labeled “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” for the individual ethnicities (US White and Black, Japanese, and Swedish), and also for all the combinations of data of the four ethnicities.

6. Correlations of the Four Attributes with the Latent Inner Factor

The correlations between four participant attributes (gender, age, level of education, and annual income) and the latent inner factor “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” were examined.

6.1. Correlation with Gender

Path coefficients (p < 0.05 for all) between gender (men to women) and “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” were +0.162 (by direct path) and +0.029 (= −0.245 × −0.119 by indirect path) for the Swedish sample in Figure 1, +0.089 (by direct path) for the US Black sample in Figure 2, and +0.086 for the US White and +0.032 for the Japanese samples in the previous study (Hayase, 2016) , indicating that women were more unable to detach from concerns involving the self than men in all samples. It is notable that the same tendency was obtained for the correlation with gender in both independent and interdependent cultures.

Moreover, all path coefficients between gender (men to women) and “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” were positive values from +0.054 to +0.140 for all data combinations (any two, three, or four ethnicities) in Table 14. These results strongly indicate that women were generally more unable to detach from concerns involving the self than men.

6.2. Correlation with Age

Path coefficients (p < 0.05 for all) between age and “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” were −0.278 (as direct path) & −0.018 (= +0.153 × −0.119 as indirect path) for the Swedish sample in Figure 1, −0.210 (as direct path) for the US Black sample in Figure 2, and −0.149 for the US White and −0.275 for the Japanese samples in the previous paper (Hayase, 2016) . Younger people, as compared to older people, were more unable to detach from concerns involving the self in all four samples. Again, it is notable that the same tendency was obtained for the correlation with age in independent and interdependent cultures. Since older people have had many more life experiences than younger people, older people may have learned more about how to be able to detach from concerns involving the self than younger people.

Moreover, path coefficients between age and “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” were all negative values from −0.180 to −0.290 for all data combinations in Table 14. These results strongly indicate that younger people were generally more unable to detach from concerns involving the self than elder people.

6.3. Correlation with Level of Education

Path coefficients (p < 0.05 for all) between level of education and “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” were −0.025 (= +0.207 × −0.119 as indirect path) for the Swedish sample in Figure 1, −0.111 (as direct path) for the US Black sample in Figure 2, and −0.075 for US White and −0.012 for Japanese samples in the previous paper (Hayase, 2016) . People with lower levels of education were less able to detach from concerns involving the self than people with higher levels of education for all samples. The same tendency was obtained for the correlation with levels of education in the four ethnicities, perhaps because education may provide some positive effects in “Being able to detach from concerns involving the self”.

6.4. Correlation with Annual Income

The path coefficient between annual income and “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” was −0.119 (p < 0.05) for the Swedish sample, as shown in Figure 1. On the other hand, there was no significant correlation for the US Black sample, as shown in Figure 2. In the previous paper (Hayase, 2016) , there was little correlation between annual income and the latent inner factor for the Japanese sample (−0.071, p < 0.05) and no correlation between annual income and the latent inner factor for the US White sample. Thus, there may in general be little relationship between annual income and the latent inner factor “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self”.

6.5. Evidence for the Existence of the Common Latent Inner Factor for the Five Phenomena

It was found that women, younger people, and people with lower levels of education as compared to men, older people, and people with higher levels of education were more unable to detach from concerns involving the self in each of the individual ethnicities (US White, Japanese, Swedish, and US Black). Moreover, women, younger people, and people with lower levels of education as compared to men, older people, and people with higher levels of education were more unable to detach from concerns involving the self for all combinations of data (any two or three ethnicities, and all four ethnicities). This is notable and provides convincing evidence of the existence of a common latent inner factor for the five phenomena (worry, bothersome concern, regret, anxiety, and unpleasant experience). Although these five are considered to be seemingly different psychological phenomena (Ehring & Watkins, 2008; McEvoy et al., 2010) and the time focus of the questions (present, past, and future) also differed, it is not implausible (Davey et al., 1992; Stober & Joormann, 2001) that a common latent inner factor could be extracted from the five phenomena. Zebb (1998) also reported that measures of worry and anxiety were highly correlated, and personal control did not show a differential relationship to anxiety or worry. And, Bidjerano (2010) investigated a psychological phenomenon which includes disappointed feeling, as well as anxiety, worry, and regret. Thus, in the present study, the confirmatory factor analyses by SEM/LV presented reliable convincing evidence of the existence of the common latent inner factor for the five phenomena in a variety of humans.

7. General Discussion

The present study had three main purposes: first, to make it more possible to identify the true inner target or object about which you are anxious, worry, and/or are regretful, including negative rumination and repetitive negative thinking, when things do not go right for you; second, to present more evidence to confirm the existence of the inner latent factor “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self”, which was earlier found in two ethnicities (US White and Japanese; Hayase, 2016 ) by examining new data from Swedish and US Black samples; and third, to clarify the concept of unlimited, active, and stable “genuine happiness,” which differs from the episodic happiness that depends on unstable episodes.

When you are anxious about, worry about, or regret something, what is it that you are anxious about, worry about, or regret? Usually, you do not identify it clearly or consciously, although it may be something that will happen to you in the future, is occurring at the present time, or occurred in the past. If what will occur, is occurring, or occurred is that things go right for “you” (“you” means “your Omoi” in Japanese), you do not have any anxiety, worry, or regret, and then there may be no problem. However, when things do not go right for “you” (“your Omoi”), you may experience anxiety, worry, or regret, and there may be a problem. At that time, you may attempt to alter the circumstances so things go right for “you” (“your Omoi”). If you are successful, the circumstance goes right for “you” (“your Omoi”) and the problem will disappear. But if you are not successful, the circumstance does not go right for “you” (“your Omoi”) and there still is a problem, and then you may likely try again. However, suppose that at last you comprehend that the circumstances can no longer be changed. Then, what will you do? When all you need to do is to plan and perform actions that are necessary to go forward, it may occur that you do not have the positive will or inclination to do these things, because you are not able to detach from the concerns involving the self that occur when things do not go right for “you” (“your Omoi”). In this circumstance, you tend to become anxious, to worry, to be regretful, to be irritated, to be sad, angry, or jealous, to develop an inferiority complex, to engage in repetitive negative thinking, and/or to ruminate negatively. Since all of these concerns certainly concern “the self”―in other words, the concerns are closely associated with things which do not go right for “you” (“your Omoi”)―each such concern is one aspect of, and derives from, “concerns involving the self”, which exist only in your mind (your “Omoi”).

The existence of the inner latent factor “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” was reconfirmed using data from Swedish and US Black samples, in addition to the US White and Japanese data of the previous study (Hayase, 2016) . It was found that women, younger people, and people with lower levels of education as compared to men, older people, and people with higher levels of education were more unable to detach from concerns involving the self. This was true not only for the individual data samples from the four ethnicities, but also for all combinations of the four data sets. This provides strong evidence of the existence of the common latent inner factor “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” for the five phenomena (worry, bothersome concern, regret, anxiety, and unpleasant experience).

In order to be free from anxiety, worry and regret, you should face squarely anxiety itself, worry itself, regret itself, which are derived from “concerns involving the self”. However, it is usually difficult for people to face such concerns squarely, because people, including many psychologists, believe that these are different phenomena and do not understand that they all derive from “concerns involving the self”. The 32nd American President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in 1933, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Fear itself is generally hard to discover because of its disposition as unjustified, unreasoning, and nameless, just like anxiety itself, worry itself, regret itself. And fear itself is another aspect of, and derives from, “concerns involving the self.” As mentioned in this study, anxiety, worry, and regret paralyze the efforts required to convert retreat into forward progress. If you can face squarely “concerns involving the self” in order to be conscious of it, you have a chance to deal with these concerns properly and thus detach yourself from them. Roosevelt also said, “Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds”. When your own mind (your own “Omoi”) is no longer a prisoner of “concerns involving the self” (“Omoi-kiri” in Japanese; “kiri” means detach and/or cut), you can have the positive will to plan and perform the actions that are necessary to make progress.

When we return to Alain’s statement that “One is not laughing because one is happy, instead, I should say that one is happy because one is laughing”, the essential thing is also “concerns involving the self”. For instance, when you are anxious about, worrying about, and/or regretting some concerns, let’s imagine that you start to laugh at that moment. At least for the moment when you are laughing, if you are laughing naturally, you are forgetting anxiety, worry, and regret about your concerns, and they have gone away because laughing expelled them. Every smile is wonderful? You can have such experiences often. At the moment you are laughing, you have (maybe unconsciously but certainly) detached from “concerns involving the self” and have immediately entered into a kind of genuine happiness, rather than episodic happiness, which depends on something that has occurred.

The French philosopher Alain (1907) also said the following:

It starts to drizzle; you are in the street and you open your

umbrella; that suffices. What is the good of saying: “This

horrid rain again”; that will have absolutely no effect on the

rain, nor on the cloud, nor on the wind, Why not just well

say: “Oh! What a nice little shower!” I can hear you object

that this will have absolutely no effect on the rain; this is

quite true; but you will feel better for it; your whole body

will awaken and actually warm up, for such is the effect of

the slightest movement of joy; “and there you are, able to be out in the rain without catching a cold.”

If you have “concerns involving the self” in your mind, for example, “I conceive that I do not want to get wet in the rain”, you will say “This horrid rain again”. However, if you can detach “concerns involving the self” from your mind, that is “I do not conceive that I do not want to get wet in the rain” or “I do not mind to getting wet in the rain,” you can say “Oh! What a nice little shower!” Only your ability to detach from “concerns involving the self” will determine whether the rain is horrid or nice, since rain is just merely rain. In the future, you will encounter such occasions often. Which will you choose to say―“Horrid rain” or “Nice shower”? Which will you choose to say―“Horrid” or “Nice”―at other times in your life?

We can modify the end of Alain’s anecdote about the rain as follows:

“… and there you are, able to be out in anxiety itself, worry itself, regret itself, and fear itself without catching (or by detaching from) concerns involving the self.”

The only thing we have to fear is anxiety itself, worry itself, regret itself, and fear itself, which do not actually exist in reality, but are all unreasonable and unjustified mental artifacts that derive from “concerns involving the self”. When and/or if you surely comprehend these concerns as a mental artifact and can confront them squarely, you can treat them rightly and finally detach from them, and then you can take the useful and practical action that is necessary to go forward.

7.1. Limitations of the Study

This study is based on Internet survey of peoples’ subjective opinions and attitudes, which were assessed by a questionnaire. It was based on responses of people living in the US, Japan, and Sweden. It would be desirable to conduct the identical study in other countries. Also, since actual experiments on people’s behavior were not conducted in this research, it would be desirable to carry out a similar study on peoples’ taking actions.

7.2. Future Directions

There were a substantial body of research about mindfulness meditation (Brown & Ryan, 2003; Manoka, 2011; Ziaian et al., 2015; Jekauc et al., 2017) , flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1978, 1990, 1997) , and positive psychology (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000; Seligman & Pawelski, 2003) . The topics of this research may be closely related to the latent inner factor “Being able to detach from concerns involving the self”. While mindfulness meditation above all may be one of the best and most meaningful ways for ordinary people to establish the inner condition of “Being able to detach from concerns involving the self”―that is, a kind of genuine happiness that is not episodic, more introspective and deeper study is essential to improve mindfulness meditation as an objective and scientific method.

Intrapersonal intelligence is one of the multiple intelligences reported by Gardner (1999) . Because it involves introspectiveness, self-reflection, and awareness of the inner world of “the self,” it is the intelligence most closely connected to the ability to achieve detachment from concerns involving the self. Studies of intrapersonal intelligence from this perspective could therefore provide additional improvement of techniques that promote detachment.

Every each individual must learn to discriminate “concerns involving the self” from regret, worry and anxiety and to resolve correlations between “concerns involving the self” and the usual concerns (anxiety, worry, regret, and fear) that are related to things that do not go right for you. However, it may be rather difficult to discover and resolve these distinctions, primarily because the source of these concerns is outwardly attributed to others, often seemingly not to the self. Further, to detach from one’s “concerns involving the self” seems to be more difficult than to extract “concerns involving the self” from regret, worry and anxiety. One of the obscure but important reasons is that there is no fulcrum with which to begin and support the action of detaching from concerns involving the self. However, it is possible that extracting “concerns involving the self” from regret, worry and anxiety is an effective initial breakthrough that directly leads “Being able to detach from concerns involving the self”. In other words, you first need to try to extract “concerns involving the self” from regret, worry and anxiety, and then proceed to detach from “concerns involving the self” by yourself by reflecting and being aware of the inner world of “the self”. This should be practiced in the course of everyday life experience, as on-the-job training, in order to learn, achieve, and master it.

The latent inner factor was labeled “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self”. Thus key concepts involved in the latent inner factor are “concerns involving the self”. Generally, there are two kinds of concerns: one is “concerns involving the self,” and the other is “concerns involving others”. “Concerns involving the self” in the latent inner factor emphasizes “the self”, not “others”. When one has concerns during connections with others in any incident, episode, accident, conflict, or similar event, these concerns usually include both “concerns involving the self” and “concerns involving others”. However, it is usually difficult for people to distinguish between “concerns involving the self” and “concerns involving others,” because these are often confusing, twining around and entangled together, and because people do not know and have not been taught, how to disentangle them. First, it is important for people to pay attention to “concerns involving the self”, which is the main target but is rather more difficult to discover, by distinguishing it from “concerns involving others”. It is also noteworthy that although one can detach from “concerns involving the self” by means of the self, one fundamentally can’t detach from “concerns involving others” by oneself alone. It should be a significant goal of practical scientific research to extract and isolate “concerns involving the self” from the mixture of states of “concerns involving the self” and “concerns involving others”, and to learn how to master “being able to detach from concerns involving the self” by means of the self.

Let us suppose that there are two persons, A and B, and A says something or does something to B. A thinks that A’s performance is done on behalf of B. Specifically, A thinks that A’s action was intended for B to detach from “concerns involving the B-self”. However, strange to say, there may be an incident, or possibly a conflict, between A and B. The reason for this incident or conflict is as follows: While A thinks A’s performance is on behalf of B, to detach from “concerns involving the B-self”, A’s action is in point of fact done on behalf of A (even if unconsciously), to detach from “concerns involving the A-self” instead of “concerns involving the B-self”. If it happens that there are large or opposing disagreements between “concerns involving the A-self” and “concerns involving the B-self”, a significant conflict may occur between A and B. This conflict depends on whether or not A can be deeply introspective into the A-self, with awareness of the inner world of the self. Further, such a conflict may be apt to happen if A thinks (even unconsciously) that A owns B. Research on these two possible sources of conflict will improve the study of introspective insight into each person’s “Omoi,” with the goal of helping to achieve genuine happiness.

Hayase & Ura (2015) studied the difference between taking action and ownership in human happiness. They reported that taking action is more important than ownership for real happiness. Recent philosophical studies have suggested that further research is needed to bring into sharper focus the distinction between self-ownership and lack of ownership (i.e., of one’s own body), both philosophically and psychologically (Pendlebury et al., 2001; Uyl & Rasmussen, 2003; Taylor, 2005; Curchin, 2007; Ypi, 2011) . In terms of the present research, does the condition of “Being unable to detach from concerns involving the self” mean that one philosophically and/or psychologically owns “concerns involving the self” in one’s “Omoi”? This is a seriously profound question that awaits future study for the benefit of genuine human happiness.

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Professor M. Ura of Otemon University, Professor K. Adachi of Osaka University, Professor K. Ogawa of Hiroshima University, and several anonymous reviewers for valuable discussions.

Appendix

In the questionnaire, the questions corresponding to Q5, Q6, and Q8 are provided for reference.

Q5L1: It is necessary for every happy person to look into his/her mind, think and improve him/herself introspectively.

Q5L2: It is necessary for every happy person in a happy society to send and receive peaceful affection, and appropriate words for improving oneself to one another.

Q5L3: Every happy person lives life with getting his/her mind off other’s vague or uncertain unfavorable-feeling to him/her.

Q5L4: The main work that I am currently engaged in on a daily basis is well suited for my personality.

Q5L5: I am often not able to cut loose from worries even when things were certainly found not to go right for me.

Q5L6: I am always able to concentrate on what I do.

Q5L7: When doing the main work that I am currently engaged in on a daily basis, I am always able to be pleasurably engaged.

Q5L8: I have a person with whom I share mutual fondness.

Q5L9: I live life with getting a taste of everyday.

Q5L10: The “joy of ownership” is the feeling of happiness that people get when acquiring things such as possessions, clothing, vehicles, houses, and so on. The “joy of taking action” is the feeling of happiness that people get from having taken action such as having made something, having used something, having had fun, or having worked. At present, I attach more importance to the “joy of ownership” than the “joy of taking action”.

Q6L1: I try to hear out the thoughts of the other person when having a conflict with that person.

Q6L2: I often can’t help foisting my thoughts on others.

Q6L3: I attach more importance to the happiness from taking action than to the happiness from ownership.

Q6L4: When my opinion clashes with somebody else’s, I think about steps to take in order to make things better for us.

Q6L5: My body has been healthy in my life thus far.

Q6L6: I never back down when having a conflict with others.

Q6L7: I feel happier when I’ve taken ownership of something than when doing something.

Q6L8: When my opinion diverges from someone else’s, I take time to talk it out with that person completely.

Q6L9: I don’t care to make concessions to others.

Q6L10: I am more fond of taking action than of owning.

Q8L1: I find it almost impossible to get my mind off concerns that are bothering me.

Q8L2: I am always concerned about how others might be thinking about me.

Q8L3: I try to make efforts at living each day so that the concerns that I have don’t linger inside of me.

Q8L4: I often end up regretting something forever.

Q8L5: I tend to not concern myself with how others might see me.

Q8L6: I tend to get over failure relatively easily.

Q8L7: I am not able to cut loose from uneasy occurrence and anxiety which may happen in the future.

Q8L8: I often can’t help speculating what others might think about me.

Q8L9: I cut loose from concerns in my mind and live life every day to the fullest.

Q8L10: I find it almost impossible to get my mind off an unpleasant experience once I have had it.

Cite this paper
Hayase, K. (2018) Concerns Involving the Self: What Is the Real Target of Anxiety, Regret, or Worry, When Things Do Not Go Right for You? More Evidence from Sweden and the United States. Psychology, 9, 1475-1515. doi: 10.4236/psych.2018.96090.
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