For me, “happiness” has always seemed both impossible and like a cartoon idea of an emotion–a made up thing that few people ever actually were. But in a recent study about achieving happiness, scientists discovered how you feel about what you’re doing is what makes happiness something anyone can grasp.
Most of us want to be happy and stay that way, and research from positive psychology has shown that making a habit of certain day-to-day activities—like expressing gratitude, exercising, or performing acts of kindness—can help us get there. But few researchers have considered how to identify an activity that’s best suited to your particular personality and lifestyle.
Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, started to explore these questions in her 2007 book, The How of Happiness. Now, Lyubomirsky and a graduate student of hers, Kristin Layous, are zeroing in on why some activities may “fit” for some people and not others (summarized in a chapter for a forthcoming book, The Dark and Light Side of Happiness).