Happiness is Overrated
Published on October 16, 2011 by Sara Foss

In the Boston Globe, Gareth Cook suggests that there's a dark side to the pursuit of happiness.

Which comes as no surprise to me. I've long thought that people who are always happy are deluding themselves, turning a blind eye to some ugly truths.

Here's an excerpt from the Globe piece:

"Now, though, there is gathering evidence that happiness is not what it may appear. A string of new studies suggests that the modern chase after happiness--and even happiness itself--can hurt us. Happy, it turns out, is not always the way you want to be. To be happy is to be more gullible. Happy people tend to think less concretely and systematically; they are less persuasive. A happy person is less likely to discern looming threats.

And the chase itself can backfire: The more you value happiness, it turns out, the more unhappy you will become. The problem, a team of psychologists reports, is that when you focus too much on happiness, you are disappointed when happy events--your birthday party, say--don’t deliver a bigger boost. Which makes you unhappy. Reach for happiness with both hands, and it will abandon you.

'We have put happiness under the microscope just like we do with every other mental state,' says June Gruber, an assistant professor of psychology at Yale University, who coauthored a recent review of happiness research, 'and we see that there is this dark side.'"

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