The Optimum Level of Well-Being: Can People Be Too Happy?

@article{Oishi2007TheOL,
  title={The Optimum Level of Well-Being: Can People Be Too Happy?},
  author={Shigehiro Oishi and Ed Diener and Richard E. Lucas},
  journal={Perspectives on Psychological Science},
  year={2007},
  volume={2},
  pages={346 - 360}
}
Psychologists, self-help gurus, and parents all work to make their clients, friends, and children happier. Recent research indicates that happiness is functional and generally leads to success. However, most people are already above neutral in happiness, which raises the question of whether higher levels of happiness facilitate more effective functioning than do lower levels. Our analyses of large survey data and longitudinal data show that people who experience the highest levels of happiness… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

A Scientific Review of the Remarkable Benefits of Happiness for Successful and Healthy Living
Summary Subjective well-being reflects the happiness of citizens and includes whether they believe and feel that their lives are desirable, satisfying, and rewarding. It is a key indicator of
Does Happiness Promote Career Success?
Past research has demonstrated a relationship between happiness and workplace success. For example, compared with their less happy peers, happy people earn more money, display superior performance,
Do happy people care about society’s problems?
ABSTRACT Since ancient times, scholars, individuals, and societies have been preoccupied with the pursuit of happiness. But might individual happiness actually be bad for society and the world? A
Can seeking happiness make people unhappy? [corrected] Paradoxical effects of valuing happiness.
TLDR
It is argued that valuing happiness may not always be the case, and that the more people value happiness, the more likely they will feel disappointed, which may lead people to be less happy just when happiness is within reach.
Personality and the Pursuit of Happiness
Although people pursue life outcomes because they believe that these outcomes will make them happy, research shows that external life circumstances have a surprisingly small effect on happiness and
Perceiving societal pressure to be happy is linked to poor well-being, especially in happy nations
Happiness is a valuable experience, and societies want their citizens to be happy. Although this societal commitment seems laudable, overly emphasizing positivity (versus negativity) may create an
Can Seeking Happiness Make People Happy? Paradoxical Effects of Valuing Happiness
Happiness is a key ingredient of well-being. It is thus reasonable to expect that valuing happiness will have beneficial outcomes. We argue that this may not always be the case. Instead, valuing
Malleability and Intentional Activities
Whether people can sustainably change their level of happiness has been a topic of much debate in the psychological literature, with some researchers suggesting that happiness change is futile and
A Dark Side of Happiness? How, When, and Why Happiness Is Not Always Good
  • J. GruberI. MaussMaya Tamir
  • Psychology
    Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science
  • 2011
TLDR
Culatively, these lines of research suggest that although happiness is often highly beneficial, it may not be beneficial at every level, in every context, for every reason, and in every variety.
Estimating the influence of life satisfaction and positive affect on later income using sibling fixed effects
TLDR
Using data from a large US representative panel, it is shown that adolescents and young adults who report higher life satisfaction or positive affect grow up to earn significantly higher levels of income later in life.
...
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 104 REFERENCES
The Benefits of Frequent Positive Affect: Does Happiness Lead to Success?
TLDR
The results reveal that happiness is associated with and precedes numerous successful outcomes, as well as behaviors paralleling success, and the evidence suggests that positive affect may be the cause of many of the desirable characteristics, resources, and successes correlated with happiness.
Most People Are Happy
Myers and Diener (1995) asked “Who is happy?” but examined the question of who is more and who is less happy In fact, most people report a positive level of subjective well-being (SWB), and say that
Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being.
Reigning measures of psychological well-being have little theoretical grounding, despite an extensive literature on the contours of positive functioning. Aspects of well-being derived from this
What makes a life good?
  • L. KingC. Napa
  • Psychology
    Journal of personality and social psychology
  • 1998
TLDR
A general perception is suggested that meaning in life and happiness are essential to the folk concept of the good life, whereas money is relatively unimportant.
On happiness and human potentials: a review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being.
TLDR
This review considers research from both perspectives concerning the nature of well-being, its antecedents, and its stability across time and culture.
Reexamining adaptation and the set point model of happiness: reactions to changes in marital status.
TLDR
Data from a 15-year longitudinal study of over 24.000 individuals was used to examine the effects of marital transitions on life satisfaction and found individuals reacted to events and then adapted back toward baseline levels, but there were substantial individual differences in this tendency.
Beyond the hedonic treadmill: revising the adaptation theory of well-being.
TLDR
5 important revisions to the hedonic treadmill model are needed, which offer hope for psychologists and policy-makers who aim to decrease human misery and increase happiness.
Subjective well-being. The science of happiness and a proposal for a national index.
  • E. Diener
  • Psychology
    The American psychologist
  • 2000
TLDR
Representative selection of respondents, naturalistic experience sampling measures, and other methodological refinements are now used to study subjective well-being and could be used to produce national indicators of happiness.
The evolving concept of subjective well-being: The multifaceted nature of happiness.
Subjective well-being, or what is popularly often called “happiness,” has been of intense interest throughout human history. We review research showing that it is not a single factor, but that
Subjective Well-Being: Three Decades of Progress
W. Wilson's (1967) review of the area of subjective well-being (SWB) advanced several conclusions regarding those who report high levels of "happiness". A number of his conclusions have been
...
...