Why Are We Happy?

I came across this TEDTalk after I read Dan Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness. In it he offers a great summary of his major thesis: that we misremember many of our experiences and therefore are poor predictors of what makes us happy. But there’s an upside: we’re actually very good at creating what he calls “synthetic” happiness by almost always looking at the bright side. In a reverse of the “sour grapes” phenomenon – perhaps we should call it the “lemonade” phenomenon 🙂 – we are hardwired to make the best of our situations. And if we trust that rather than think we can make ourselves happy by buying more stuff, we might actually go a long way toward being genuinely happy.

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