A few days ago I opened my inbox to find a dozen emails from worried friends. They all sounded a bit like this:
Hey, just saw this article about how trying to be happy is actually making people miserable. You should read it. Worried about how this will reflect on what you guys are doing with Happier.
Here’s the article everyone was sending me: The Problem With Happiness.
It talks about several studies in which researchers showed that trying to be happy is actually making people less happy. For example:
In one study, people were asked a number of questions about how much they value happiness and how much they believe it is important to work toward being happy. People putting the greatest emphasis on being happy reported 50% less frequent positive emotions, 35% less satisfaction about their life, and 75% more depressive symptoms than people that had their priorities elsewhere.
I might have surprised my worried friends when I wrote back to each of them to say that actually, I couldn’t agree with the article more. You see, we created Happier based on the idea that chasing some big nirvana state of happiness does absolutely nothing to make us happier — and sometimes, like researchers have shown, achieves the opposite.
Focusing on small happy moments in every day life and appreciating them, connecting with friends and people you care about, doing nice things for others, spending time with positive people — these are the behaviors that multiple studies have shown actually do make people happier, more positive and optimistic. At Happier, our mission is to inspire millions of people to do just that and hearing from so many of our users about how doing this makes them happier is more powerful than any research study I can imagine.