A new research has revealed that happiness results in success, and not the other way round. The Psychological Bulletin of the American Psychological Association has published this study. Happiness contributes towards reinforcing positive emotions, which also motivates people to undertake new goals and succeed at them.
Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky of the University of California and colleagues examined the connections between desirable characteristics, life successes and well-being of over 275,000 people, and found that chronically happy people are in general more successful across many life domains than less happy people.
"Happy people are more likely to achieve favorable life circumstances, and 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. When people feel happy, they tend to feel confident, optimistic, and energetic and others find them likable and sociable," said Dr. Lyubomirsky.
The researchers examined studies involving three different types of evidence, cross-sectional, longitudinal and experimental designs to determine how happiness and positive emotions are related to culturally valued success.
They chose to use these different types of evidence to bolster their confidence in establishing cause-and-effect relationships among happiness, positive affect, and success. Cross-sectional studies compare different groups of people and answer questions like, "Are happy people more successful than unhappy people?" and "Does long-term happiness and short term positive affect co-occur with desirable behaviors?"
Longitudinal studies examine groups of people over a period of time and address questions like, "Does happiness precede success?" and "Does positive affect pave the way for success-like behaviors?" Finally, experimental studies manipulate variables to test whether an outcome will occur under controlled conditions and answer questions like, "Does positive affect lead to success-oriented behaviors?"
The results of all three types of studies suggests that happiness does lead to behaviors that often produce further success in work, relationships and health, and these successes result in part from a person's positive affect.
Furthermore, evidence from the cross-sectional studies confirm that a person's well-being is associated with positive perceptions of self and others, sociability, creativity, pro-social behavior, a strong immune system, and effective coping skills. The authors also note 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. But the new study found that this isn't always true. 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.
"Our review provides strong support that happiness, in many cases, leads to successful outcomes, rather than merely following from them, and 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," said Lyubomirsky. (ANI)