What are the myths of happiness?
Decades of research on the science of happiness shows that there’s a big—and potentially life-altering—difference between what you think will make you happy and the things that actually do, argues University of California, Riverside psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, in her fascinating book The Myths of Happiness. If you buy into any of the following myths (and nearly all of us do), read on to find some refreshingly creative strategies to boost your bliss. Plus, check out our favorite quotes about finding happiness.
Myth: The right marriage will provide endless happiness
Science says: The average person picks up a sizable boost in happiness when he or she gets married, but this only lasts about two years. After that, the former newlywed reverts back to his or her happiness level before the engagement.
Boost your bliss: Delight in your partner’s good news. According to Lyubomirsky, “the closest, most intimate, and most trusting relationships appear to be distinguished not by how partners respond to each other’s disappointments, but how they react to the good news.” When your husband shares that he’s getting promoted, reacting with joy and asking enthusiastic questions signals that you care. Being silently supportive or pointing out downsides (“Oh, you’ll have to work on weekends?”) undermines happiness. Check out some more potentially surprising marriage advice from the happiest couples.