Ah, the pursuit of happiness. Isn’t that an inherent right of all Americans? Yet the majority of Americans seem to be searching for happiness in all the wrong places… striving for that next promotion at work, purchasing a larger home, buying a nicer car, thinking that marriage will provide lasting happiness, or planning the perfect vacation. We seem to have it all backwards. Here are just a few of the myths of happiness:
- Myth: Happiness is a destination. Truth: Happiness is a process.
- Myth: Success at work creates happiness. Truth: Happiness leads to success.
- Myth: Material goods provide happiness. Truth: Charitable acts bring happiness.
- Myth: Marriage creates happiness. Truth: Single people are just as happy as married people, and may even be happier.
- Myth: Pleasurable experiences create happiness. Truth: Helping others creates happiness.
- Myth: Happiness will be obtained when a goal is reached. Truth: Goal attainment provides momentary happiness. True happiness is attained in the present.
- Myth: Happiness is genetic. Truth: Happiness can be taught.
Don’t believe me? These articles should convince you…
- Debunking the Myths of Happiness (Jason Marsh, Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life)
- Happiness: 6 Myths and Truths (Annie Stuart, WebMD)
- 7 Myths about Happiness (Sonja Lyubomirsky, Psychology Today)
Photo taken January 4th, 2014
UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley