A new and blossoming field of psychology - positive psychology - has begun to uncover fascinating, evidence-based answers to many questions about happiness. I've been sizing up the most recent findings to reveal the emerging science of happiness.
What are the everyday sources of happiness?
Because happiness is something most of us aim for, how we define it has important implications for how we conduct our lives. To see why, compare these two competing definitions of happiness.
Happiness is not just a headlong charge towards whatever makes us feel pleasure, it is about finding satisfaction in ourselves and in what we have done. But what can modern psychological research tells us about the everyday sources of happiness? These three articles explore this question:
- Sustainable Happiness: Why It's All About the Day-to-Day
- Do We Know What Makes Us Happy?
- Experiences Beat Possessions: Why Materialism Causes Unhappiness
How can happiness be increased?
Since most of us want to be happy, what practical steps does psychological research suggest we can take to increase our happiness?
- Being Happy: Enjoyable Activities Beat Improved Life Circumstances
- Practicing Gratitude Can Increase Happiness by 25%
- 10 Grateful Steps to Happiness
- How to Improve Mood, Raise Energy and Reduce Tension
- 3 Happiness Enhancing Activities With Evidence They Work
Is being happy any use?
Is there an optimum level of happiness and will happiness help us succeed in life?
Happiness advice: ancient and modern
Advice on how to live the good life comes from many different countries and cultures around the world. There's self-help advice from the ancient Greeks, the ancient Chinese, 19th Century German philosophers and modern Americans, to name only a few.
But how does all this advice compare with what we observe today about the conditions of happiness? As you'll see, some advice certainly fares better than others:
- How to Be Happy, Confucian Style
- Hedonist Philosopher Epicurus Was Right About Happiness (Mostly)
- Schopenhauer's Extreme Self-Help for Pessimists
- Is Modern Self-Help Just a Massive Money-Making Scam?
- 6 Self-Help Books for Depression Recommended by Experts
[Image credit: Kalos Eidos]
Making Habits, Breaking Habits
In his new book, Jeremy Dean--psychologist and author of PsyBlog--looks at how habits work, why they are so hard to change, and how to break bad old cycles and develop new healthy, creative, happy habits.
→ "Making Habits, Breaking Habits", is available now on Amazon.Reviews
The Bookseller, “Editor’s Pick,” 10/12/12 “Sensible and very readable…By far the most useful of this month’s New You offerings.”
Kirkus Reviews, 1/1/13 “Making changes does take longer than we may expect—no 30-day, 30-pounds-lighter quick fix—but by following the guidelines laid out by Dean, readers have a decent chance at establishing fulfilling, new patterns.”
Publishers Weekly, 12/10/12 “An accessible and informative guide for readers to take control of their lives.”