Happiness Buys Success

Some say success brings happiness, and others say it doesn't.

In reality, a new study suggests, happiness buys success.

Scientists reviewed 225 studies involving 275,000 people and found that chronically happy people are in general more successful in their personal and professional lives. Importantly, their happiness tends to be a consequence of positive emotions, the researchers conclude.

"When people feel happy, they tend to feel confident, optimistic, and energetic and others find them likable and sociable," said Sonja Lyubomirsky of the University of California, Riverside. "Happy people are thus able to benefit from these perceptions."

The results are detailed in the current issue of the Psychological Bulletin, published by the American Psychological Association.

Previous research has often assumed that success and accomplishments bring happiness, Lyubomirsky and her colleagues write.

"We found that this isn't always true," 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 peoples' successes."

Among the good things that come from happiness: positive perceptions of self and others, sociability, creativity, a strong immune system, and effective coping skills.

"Happy people 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," Lyubomirsky said.

Live Science Staff
For the science geek in everyone, Live Science offers a fascinating window into the natural and technological world, delivering comprehensive and compelling news and analysis on everything from dinosaur discoveries, archaeological finds and amazing animals to health, innovation and wearable technology. We aim to empower and inspire our readers with the tools needed to understand the world and appreciate its everyday awe.