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The Myths of Happiness

What Should Make You Happy, but Doesn't, What Shouldn't Make You Happy, but Does

Sonja Lyubomirsky - Author

Hardcover | $27.95 | add to cart | view cart
ISBN 9781594204371 | 320 pages | 03 Jan 2013 | The Penguin Press | 9.25 x 6.25in
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Happiness expert Sonja Lyubomirsky’s research-based lessons in how to find opportunity in life’s thorniest moments

In The Myths of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky isolates the major turning points of adult life, looking to both successes (marriage, children, wealth) and challenges (divorce, financial ruin, illness) to reveal that our misconceptions about the impact of such events is perhaps the greatest threat to our long-term well-being.

Lyubomirsky argues that we have been given false promises—myths that assure us that lifelong happiness will be attained once we hit the culturally confirmed markers of adult success. This restricted view of happiness works to discourage us from recognizing the upside of any negative life turn and blocks us from recognizing our own growth potential. Our outsized expectations transform natural rites of passage into emotional land mines and steer us to make toxic decisions, as The Myths of Happiness reveals.

Because we expect the best (or the worst) from life’s turning points, we shortsightedly place too much weight on our initial emotional responses. The Myths of Happiness empowers readers to look beyond their first response, sharing scientific evidence that often it is our mindset—not our circumstances—that matters. Central to these findings is the notion of hedonic adaptation, the fact that people are far more adaptable than they think. Even after a major life change—good or bad—we tend to return to our initial happiness level, forgetting what once made us elated or why we felt that life was so unbearable. The Myths of Happiness offers the perspective we need to make wiser choices, sharing how to slow the effects of this adaptation after a positive turn and find the way forward in a time of darkness.

In The Myths of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky turns an empirical eye to the biggest, messiest moments, providing readers with the clear-eyed vision they need to build the healthiest, most satisfying life. A corrective course on happiness and a call to regard life’s twists and turns with a more open mind, The Myths of Happiness shares practical lessons with life-changing potential.
 


Introduction: The Myths of Happiness


CONNECTIONS


CHAPTER 1

I’ll Be Happy When… I’m Married to the Right Person


CHAPTER 2

I Can’t Be Happy When… My Relationship Has Fallen Apart


CHAPTER 3

I’ll Be Happy When… I Have Kids


CHAPTER 4

I Can’t Be Happy When… I Don’t Have a Partner


PART II

WORK AND MONEY


CHAPTER 5

I’ll Be Happy When… I Find the Right Job


CHAPTER 6

I Can’t Be Happy When… I’m Broke


CHAPTER 7

I’ll Be Happy When… I’m Rich


PART III

LOOKING BACK


CHAPTER 8

I Can’t Be Happy When… the Test Results Were Positive


CHAPTER 9

I Can’t Be Happy When… I Know I’ll Never Play Shortstop for the Yankees


CHAPTER 10

I Can’t Be Happy When… the Best Years of My Life Are Over


Conclusion: Where Happiness Is Really Found

Acknowledgments

Notes

Index

About the Author

"In this thought-provoking volume, Lyubomirsky... examines happiness and conventional notions about how it's nurtured in relationships, at work, and in one's own psyche...Lyubomirsky demonstrates that positively reframing life events can mine the best out of even the darkest situations. Provocative and fresh."
Publishers Weekly

"Informative and engaging….The author examines how the 'shoulds' of happiness not only undermine well-being, but also make it hard for individuals to cope with the sometimes difficult realities of adulthood."
Kirkus Reviews

"No matter what your personal world is like, The Myths of Happiness will change the way you approach your daily life. Lyubomirsky's thorough research and practical solutions will not only add joy and contentment to your life, but will also allow you to take on issues that you may have been sweeping under the rug for too long."
Woodbury Magazine

"In her new book, The Myths of Happiness, Dr. Lyubomirsky describes a slew of research-tested actions and words that can do wonders to keep love alive."
—Jane Brody, New York Times



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