Who doesn’t want to be happy?

For many, finding happiness is a treasured lifelong goal.  The “pursuit of happiness”  is a fundamental human right, at least according to the US Declaration of Independence alongside Liberty and Life itself.   And really – who couldn’t stand a little more happiness in their lives?

But according the authors of a new review article published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, happiness can have a dark side.

In their study, June Gruber of Yale University’s Department of Psychology and Director of Yale’s “Positive Emotion & Psychopathology Laboratory”, with her co-authors, Iris Mauss of the University of Denver and Maya Tamir of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem say that happiness shouldn’t be thought of as a universally good thing.

Not all types and degrees of happiness are equally good, they say, claiming that the act of pursuing happiness can actually make people feel worse.

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Other stories we’ll cover on the Science World radio program this week include: