The Psychology of Everyday Life: Motivation and the Search For Happiness

The Psychology of Happiness

What does happiness do?

Certainly many things can make us happy (or unhappy), but a consistently positive mood also brings significant benefits in and of itself. Let us consider what happiness does for us. In 2005, Sonja Lyubomirsky, Laura King, and Ed Diener published a meta-analysis on research looking at the relationship between positive mood and life functioning. They found that people who are generally happy also demonstrate adaptive psychological traits, such as optimism, resilience in the face of frustration, and enhanced goal seeking. In other words, happy people are upbeat, resilient go-getters. These traits in turn are related to a wealth of positive outcomes, including increased popularity, social engagement, pro-social (helpful) behavior, coping skills, and even physical health.


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