Happy people become successful

Many of us assume that success creates happy people. But the truth is that frequently the happiness comes first.

So says Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, who led a team of researchers that investigated the connections between life success, well-being and desirable personal characteristics.

They reviewed 225 previous studies that involved over 275,000 people and conclude that chronically happy people are in general more successful personally and professionally. But in many cases, it is the happiness that came first.

„This may be because happy people frequently experience positive moods and these positive moods prompt them to be more likely to work actively toward new goals and build new resources,“ Sonja said.

„When people feel happy, they tend to feel confident, optimistic, and energetic and others find them likable and sociable. Happy people are thus able to benefit from these perceptions.“

The researchers examined studies involving three different types of evidence – cross-sectional, longitudinal and experimental designs – to determine how happiness and positive affect are related to culturally-valued success.

The authors noted that happy people are capable of experiencing sadness and negative emotions in response to negative events, which is a healthy and appropriate response. Much of the previous research on happiness presupposed that happiness followed from success and accomplishments in life, said the authors.

„We found that this isn’t always true,“ Sonya Lyubomirsky said. „Positive affect is one attribute among several that can lead to success-oriented behaviors. Other resources, such as intelligence, family, expertise and physical fitness, can also play a role in people’s successes.

„Happy individuals are more likely than their less happy peers to have fulfilling marriages and relationships, high incomes, superior work performance, community involvement, robust health and even a long life.“

Many of us assume that success creates happy people. But the truth is that frequently the happiness comes first.

So says Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, who led a team of researchers that investigated the connections between life success, well-being and desirable personal characteristics.

They reviewed 225 previous studies that involved over 275,000 people and conclude that chronically happy people are in general more successful personally and professionally. But in many cases, it is the happiness that came first.

„This may be because happy people frequently experience positive moods and these positive moods prompt them to be more likely to work actively toward new goals and build new resources,“ Sonja said.

„When people feel happy, they tend to feel confident, optimistic, and energetic and others find them likable and sociable. Happy people are thus able to benefit from these perceptions.“

The researchers examined studies involving three different types of evidence – cross-sectional, longitudinal and experimental designs – to determine how happiness and positive affect are related to culturally-valued success.

The authors noted that happy people are capable of experiencing sadness and negative emotions in response to negative events, which is a healthy and appropriate response. Much of the previous research on happiness presupposed that happiness followed from success and accomplishments in life, said the authors.

„We found that this isn’t always true,“ Sonya Lyubomirsky said. „Positive affect is one attribute among several that can lead to success-oriented behaviors. Other resources, such as intelligence, family, expertise and physical fitness, can also play a role in people’s successes.

„Happy individuals are more likely than their less happy peers to have fulfilling marriages and relationships, high incomes, superior work performance, community involvement, robust health and even a long life.“

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