15 Surprising Things Happiness Research Uncovered

The Happiness Research You Should Know About

happy couple in wooded area
Happiness IS within your grasp. Here's what happiness research tells us. Mint Images - Tim Robbins/Mint Images RF/Getty Images

With the relatively new field of positive psychology growing, a wealth of new happiness research helps explain what and how of the emotion. All this new science also gives insight into what makes life worth living, and how to combat stress by promoting its opposite: serenity.

Below are some interesting findings in happiness research. While each study alone may not be definitive — each study is a small piece of a larger picture, and it's always good to have research replicated by more than one researcher — these studies on happiness provide useful information on what promotes happiness, health, serenity and meaning in life.

You'll also find opportunities to comment and add your own thoughts on the happiness research. Read on, and find tools to build a happier you! If you want even more info, take this quiz to find out if your lifestyle is actually making you happy!

1. Kindness Is Contagious

When people see others doing something kind, they're more likely to do so as well, which can lead to other great benefits for the givers. And just think: if we were all a little more kind, how much less stress would there be in the world?

2. Weekends Really Are Good For Us

Workers, even those with interesting, high status jobs, really are happier on the weekend. How might this knowledge help you relieve stress during the week?

3. Winning The Lottery Won't Keep You Happy

That's right, winning the lottery may make you happy in the beginning, but that happiness dissipates pretty quickly; lots of money doesn't create lasting happiness (or, for that matter, lasting relief of stress).

4. Positive Affirmations Work — And Don't

There's a trick to using positive affirmations; they need to fit certain criteria to be effective. Be sure you're not wasting time and energy on repeating positive-sounding phrases to yourself that actually backfire and make you feel more stressed! Read the research on positive affirmations.

5. Happiness Involves Having What You Want...

and wanting what you have! That's right, researchers found that people are happy when they get what they want (not surprisingly) and when they appreciate what they already have. Use this information in your life to promote contentment and relieve stress, read more about this gratitude-happiness research.

6. Botox May Soften Emotions As Well As Wrinkles

Researchers found that those who have been injected with Botox to mute expression lines may feel decreased emotional responses as well. This may bring insight into how we can relieve stress, even if we're not Botox users. Read on to find out why.

7. Feeling 'In Control' Doesn't Just Make You Happier...

it makes you healthier as well! Researchers linked focus of control with more positive health outcomes. Learn more about what this can mean for you.

8. We Really May Eat More Chocolate When Feeling Depressed

Researchers found that those who are depressed consume a greater amount of chocolate than those who don't.

How can this impact you? Learn more about the research, and the link between chocolate and depression.

9. Friends and Sleep Are Good For Us

Researchers found that getting more sleep and having more social support in your life were both good for your health. Interestingly, they can both help you feel less stressed as well. If you have difficulty sleeping, check out these stress and sleep resources.

10. Happy People Are Resilient People

Those who seed their life with frequent moments of positive emotions increase their resilience against challenges. It's also a great way to relive stress and enjoy life more. Learn more about happiness, resilience, and 'the good life'.

11. Grateful People Sleep Better At Night

Those who journal about the things they appreciate before they go to sleep actually do have better sleep! What kind of gratitude journaling works best? Read more about gratitude and sleep, and find resources for both.

12. Better Posture Translates Into Greater Confidence

Researchers found that those who purposely sat up straighter in their chairs tended to have a greater belief in their own abilities. (And as we saw earlier, greater confidence and belief in your ability to have control in your life can relive stress!) Learn more about posture and self-belief.

13. You Can Talk Yourself Out Of Feeling Stressed

That's right — simply reading certain words can help you feel more serene and less stressed. Read on to see what they are!

14. Laughter Is The Best Medicine

Laughter, or even the anticipation of a good laugh, can actually lower your stress hormones significantly! Looking to get more laughter (and less stress) into your life? Hear more about laughter and stress.

15. Positive Emotions Can Lead To A Better and More Satisfying Life

Being sure you have a dose of positive emotion every day can do more than make you feel good for a few minutes. Regular positive emotions can carry far-reaching benefits for many areas of your life, so focusing on the positive and enjoying things that get you into a good mood can be especially beneficial. Read more about the far-reaching benefits of positive emotions, and find ways to get more of those good feelings in your life.

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