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Our Better Health

Research-based strategies to increase fulfillment and flow.
Dec 18, 2013   Peg Streep

Why aren’t I happier—and why aren’t you?

The Declaration of Independence enshrines our pursuit of happiness. So why aren’t we better at it? According to recent research, it turns out that much of what we think we know about happiness and how to achieve it either isn’t true or is vastly oversimplified.

Let’s start with four myths:

1. Don’t worry, be happy.

Yes, I love that song, too, but it unfortunately draws on how we think of happiness and unhappiness as polar opposites, one balancing out the other. This misunderstanding has us indulging in all kinds of “if only” thinking—based on the idea that erasing one bad thing in our lives will necessarily make us instantly happy: “If only I had a better job, I’d be happy.” “If only my relationship to my lover/spouse/parent/sibling were better, I’d…

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