The anti-pursuit of happiness

Chasing the feeling gets you nowhere.

Viewing happiness as a goal you need to constantly work toward can actually make you feel less happy, according to a new study published in the Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.
The point of the research was to figure out what it looks like inside the minds of people trying to find happiness, says study author Sam Maglio, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough in Canada.

He and his team found that when people saw happiness as something they need to work hard for rather than something that comes easily, it reminded them of all the future effort they’d have to put into the pursuit. The pressure to reach it was small but constant. In turn, they felt short on time, which made them feel even less satisfied than they did before.
“Deliberately organize your daily life so that it contains situations that spark positive emotions,” suggests Lahnna Catalino, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at Scripps College in Claremont, California. Because happiness highs from isolated events like vacations ultimately wear off, make sure you carve out time every day for activities that bring you joy, like your morning run or time with friends.