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First Published Monday, 30 November 2009


By John M Grohol PsyD
November 24, 2009

Happiness. Ahh, what an enticing word that is.

Psychologists call it “subjective well-being” (and even abbreviate it as SWB in their research), but it boils down to the same thing — what makes us more happy? And how can we do more of that special stuff that will lead to greater happiness in our lives?

This Emotional Life, a new PBS documentary hopes to help answer that question in three 2-hour shows from January 4 through the 6th, 2010. “Each episode weaves together the compelling personal stories of ordinary people and the latest in brain science research, along with revealing comments from celebrities such as Chevy Chase, Larry David, Elizabeth Gilbert, Alanis Morissette, Katie Couric and Richard Gere.” Sounds like good stuff and we’re happy to help promote this new series (I also am blogging on their website!).

We’ve previously noted how at least 40% of our happiness is determined by our own behaviors, and how money can lead to happiness but there’s a catch — it helps to give your money away. The more you give away, the happier you might be.

We’ve also noted how your happiness is affected by being in a relationship. Partners are more happy when they help the other achieve his/her dreams. Another blog entry we’ve written discusses the keys to happiness in a long-term relationship:

  • *Continue exploring and engaging in new activities and opportunities with one another.
  • *Resolve conflicts as they occur, respectfully; don’t let conflicts simmer and build into something bigger over time.
  • *Find something challenging to do together; a shared challenge can help bring you closer together if you work as a team.
  • *Feeling that your partner is “there for you” is invaluable for a good relationship; loyalty counts more than you may realize.
  • *Guard against insecurity, as it can lead to spark relationship problems that otherwise wouldn’t exist.


Happiness is not only possible for most of us — it’s an easy opportunity that’s waiting for us in every decision we make, every action we take. Be kind to others, give generously, and respect and be loyal to those you most love. It may take some practice, but you might find that happiness is not just within reach — it’s within your life too!

Read the full article: New PBS Documentary: Can Americans Be Happier?

Visit the PBS website: This Emotional Life

Source:  http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/11/24/whats-it-going-to-take-to-make-you-happy/

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