The 8 Most Important Things We’ve Learned About Happiness In The Past 10 Years


We’re living in a golden age of happiness — the scientific study of happiness, at least.

The field of positive psychology has exploded in growth since its inception in 1998, dramatically increasing our understanding of human flourishing. We now know more than ever about what makes us happy, how we can spread happiness socially and geographically, and how happiness affects our physical and mental health.

But it’s just the beginning. In the next decade, we’re likely to see not only a greater understanding of positive emotions, but also the application of this research on a practical level to improve well-being on a global scale.

“Positive psychology has just scratched at the surface of the benefits of topics like meditation, gratitude and forgiveness,” Emma Seppala, Ph.D., a positive psychologist at Stanford and associate director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, told The Huffington Post in an email. “The next decade of research will dive deep into these topics.”

Already, this burgeoning research offers valuable tools for each one of us to bring more joy into our own lives and the lives of others. In honor of HuffPost’s 10th anniversary, here are 10 scientific findings about happiness from the past decade — and reasons why we’ll be happier in the future, too.

1. We get happier as we get older.
Although we tend to focus on the downsides of aging, a robust body of research suggests we’ve got a lot to look forward to as we get older. One survey conducted in 2013 found 23 and 69 to be life’s two happiest ages. Other data suggests that after happiness levels drop around mid-life, they tend to increase steadily into old age. One conducted by Duke University researchers in 2006 found that 70-year-olds tended to —> Read More