Pursuit of happiness can backfire

May 17th, 2011 - 4:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 17 (IANS) Being happy is good but pursuing happiness too much can backfire, warns a latest study based on happiness.

The tools often suggested for making yourself happy aren’t necessarily bad — like taking time every day to think about things you are happy about or grateful for, or setting up situations that are likely to make you happy.

“But when you’re doing it with the motivation or expectation that these things ought to make you happy, that can lead to disappointment and decreased happiness,” said June Gruber of Yale University, who has co-authored the research along with Iris Mauss of the University of Denver and Maya Tamir of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

It is one of the many downsides of happiness — people who strive for happiness may end up worse off than when they started, according to the study published in the journal, Psychological Science.

The study also found that people who read a newspaper article praising the value of happiness felt worse after watching a happy film than people who read a newspaper article that did not mention happiness — presumably because they were disappointed they did not feel happier.

When people do not end up as happy as they had expected, their feeling of failure can make them feel even worse. Too much happiness can also be a problem.

Researchers have also found that people who feel extreme amounts of happiness may not think creatively and also tend to take more risks.

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