The discipline of positive psychology is advancing at an incredible rate and the good thing is that it means we’re rapidly understanding more about what happiness is and how we can have more happiness in our lives! We’re also understanding more and more that happiness is good for us (as individuals and as a society) so if you’re interested in knowing what’s going on then please keep reading…

Happiness leads to people doing good!

* when people experience elevation (a positive emotion) they’re significantly more likely to engage in “prosocial” responses. That is, when we’re inspired by others we’re more likely to help others! So happiness leads to more happiness via good deeds…

Happiness immunises adolescents to the impact of marketing!

* happier adolescents are less likely to form impressions of people based on superficial cues (such as brand named clothes) and happier adolescents also have a more nuanced view of others

Positive psychology interventions lead to lasting happiness!

* We’ve known for some time now that positive psychology strategies boost happiness in individuals but we now know that the happiness and related benefits last way beyond the end of the interventions

Happiness is family for teenagers!

* despite the commonly held views that young adults are always rebelling against their family the findings of a series of studies support the notion that family is a significant source of meaning in the lives of young adults

Leaders can enhance happiness at work by…eliciting positive emotions!

* and leaders can elicit positive emotions by displaying “moral excellence”

NB: this is a summary of several studies from the latest (September 2010) edition of the Journal of Positive Psychology. Further, this summary is obviously a highly simplistic one of some very sophisticated research. But I hope it’s stimulated some thought and more so, I hope you’ll go away and consider how you can apply some of these findings in your daily lives, at home and at work.

Dr. Timothy J Sharp (Dr. Happy) is an academic, clinician and coach with three degrees in psychology (including a Ph.D.). He runs one of Sydney’s largest clinical psychology practices, and founded The Happiness Institute (http://www.thehappinessinstitute.com), Australia’s first organisation devoted solely to enhancing happiness in individuals, families and organisations.

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