The New Science of Happiness

Euphoria

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:

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?

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:

[Image credit: Kalos Eidos]

About the author


Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick". You can follow PsyBlog by email, by RSS feed, on Twitter and Google+.

Published: 25 January 2008

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Images: Creative Commons License