Happiness, and Why it Matters

Happiness and Why it Matters 2

While happiness is not the only measure of a successful life, we know that it has a direct impact on many aspects of our wellness. Happiness has been linked with success across a wide variety of markers like income, relationships, marriage, health, and work performance —when we have happiness, we have greater success in these different areas of our lives. In fact, we know that happiness even boosts our physical health; when we’re generally happy, we’re half as likely to catch the common cold or experience a heart attack.

As you may have noticed, happiness and all of its good effects are a cyclical kind of thing: feel happiness > receive benefits, which are also causes of happiness > feel more happiness. You’ll probably recall this idea from our discussion about Shawn Achor’s book The Happiness Advantage. Rather than waiting to be happy when we have all of the things in life that we want (the house, the spouse, the car, the ring, and so on), we dial into our happiness first, and then the rest begins to snowball.

Over the next few days we’ll dig deeper into the concept of happiness, and how we can cultivate it in our lives in small, accessible ways. Today, consider what happiness means to you—can you write your own definition?

Achor, S. (2010.) The Happiness Advantage. Currency Publishing.

Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The Benefits of Frequent Positive Affect: Does Happiness Lead to Success? Psychological Bulletin, 131(6), 803–855. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.131.6.803

Rimer, S. (2014, February 19). The biology of emotion—and what it may teach us about helping people live longer. Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/magazine/happiness-stress-heart-disease/.