January 29

Happiness myths

Posted by aadsera

Sonja Lyubomirsky claims that among the obstacles to increasing happiness are the misconceptions that people have about what makes them happy – myths that are transmitted by culture, social roles, family and friends. Some of these beliefs seem even intuitive and obvious, despite having no scientific basis.

Myth 1: Happiness has to be “found”. It is said that happiness is out there somewhere, waiting for you to find and discover it. This is false for the simple reason that happiness is within us. Happiness is a state of mind, a way of perceiving ourselves.

Myth 2: Happiness is about changing our circumstances. This erroneous belief leads us to say: "I would be happy if ... " or "I'll be happy when ... ". It is a myth that is based on past memories of our life when we were happy before. The reality is that the elements that determined our happiness in the past and can bring happiness in future are still there, within us, waiting to be seized. External circumstances have little effect on long-term well-being.

Myth 3: You either have happiness or you don’t. This myth suggests that one is born happy or unhappy. It is mistakenly believed that unhappiness is genetic and you can’t do anything to change it. But the fact is that, despite personality having a genetic load, its various facets, such as the ability to be happy, can be changed for the better.

Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). The How of Happiness. New York: Penguin Press.