Happiness is a wonderful thing. For years now I’ve written about different specific topics regarding how to live a happier life, but for a long time I’ve wanted to create somewhat of a ‘one-stop shop’ resource page for you that will be regularly updated.
The goal of this resource page is to gather the most interesting and effective work on happiness psychology that’s ever been made available to the public.
It’s a work in progress and I look forward to updating it as new research, videos and articles come out.
Being a relatively new field of study, our scientific understanding of happiness is still growing, with some areas of deep controversy and debate.
This is good, though, as it gives us a chance to think critically, question the research and points being made and begin to create opinions on different topics independently.
I’ve decided to split the resources into different sections for easier reference, and if you would like to download this resource page as a PDF for later consumption, please click here.
For this particular reference page I’ve not included books because this is designed to provide you with resources you can click on and read or watch right now. I will do a book list at a later date, and if I include that in here too, I will be sure to let you know.
Life Changing Research Studies on Happiness Psychology
Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study: This is one of the most important understandings of happiness and this research study changed my perception of happiness. The study looks at how happiness spreads between people and the results, as you’ll see, makes you think twice about how you interact with other people.
Grant Study: Overall I would recommend this before any other study for someone who is scientifically minded and would like a final answer to the ultimate key to happiness. I haven’t linked it here because I am still, years on after first reading it, struggling to find the original research paper. If you find it at any point please do let me know so I can share it here with the public.
Lottery Winners and Accident Victims: Is Happiness Relative?: One of the most famous studies on happiness ever done, researchers wanted to know how does happiness compare between those who have successfully won the lottery and those who have been in traumatic accidents. It also discusses theories as to why the results they found were as they were. Fascinating and controversial study.
Hedonic Adaptations to Positive and Negative Adaptations: This is the most comprehensive piece of research on our scientific understanding of why our happiness tends to stay at the same level irrespective of positive or negative events and ways to enhance our capacity to live at our highest level of happiness. To truly understand this principle and see it working in your own life is life changing – it changes every decision you make from purchases to decisions on which direction to lead your life, and many more.
From Wealth to Well-Being? Money Matters, but Less Than People Think: There is plenty of research and debate on how money affects our individual and social happiness, but what I especially love about this study is that it looked at our perception of how money would impact our well-being. Spoiler alert: we are appalling at estimating how an increase of decrease in our income would impact our well-being. Nonetheless, this study has some great visuals to show just how bad we are at judging hypothetical changes in income.
Online Articles with Practical, Science-Based Tips on Happiness Psychology
What Makes Us Happy?: This is the most comprehensive written article on the Grant Study, therefore although not a scientific paper in itself, worth reading.
6 Science-Based Tips for Making Friends: Although I do not like the title, and do not recommend utilising tactics to gain friendships, these tips are actually the best I’ve read in one cohesive article on how to nourish and develop your current friendships.
Be Happy: Your Genes May Thank You For It: This article discusses the different effects of happiness that comes having a deep sense of purpose in life (known as eudaimonic happiness) and the happiness that comes from sensory gratification (known as hedonic happiness) on genetic inflammation and the strength of expression of antiviral and antibody genes. Mind blowing and very important to know.
What Doesn’t Kill Us…: This is a great recap of the research which looks into Post Traumatic Growth, the opposite of the more commonly known condition Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It discusses how people not only overcome trauma but actually flourish and psychologically grow from the trauma, therefore giving you important considerations about how to deal with the inevitable hardships of life.
Positive Psychology Assessment Tools: Sofia has provided 10+ proven surveys/measures/questionnaires that are fantastic to use not only if you are a practicing psychotherapist or counsellor but as a individual who wants to ‘track’ they happiness whilst undertaking a protocol (gratitude diary, for example) so you can actually see your own progress as it unfolds.
Incredible Full Length Video Lectures on Happiness Psychology
Living Danishly: Inspiring Ideas from the World’s Happiest Country: In this video Helen Russell very succinctly explains what makes Denmark consistently rated as one of the happiest countries in the world. More importantly, she explains how to take what she’s learnt from living in Denmark and transfers it to your daily lives whichever country you live in.
Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, “The Science of Happiness”: The Queen of happiness research dives deep into how to develop more day-to-day happiness, different to the area of research looking at overall life satisfaction – another popular field of happiness research. She also explains thoroughly some important research on the hedonic treadmill and it’s impact on certain significant life events. A must watch, entertaining and highly informative lecture.
Stumbling on Happiness: This lecture is hard for a lot of people to watch, especially if you have kids. However, as students of happiness I think it’s important to watch.
Dan Gilbert goes deep into some unique topics including how we judge value and thus how we judge what we think will make us happier, as well as how having kids is related to our happiness, and this is the only lecture I’ve ever found to actually discuss why the science suggests kids reduce happiness even when the studies show that if you were to ask parents they say their kids bring them immense amount of happiness, and why all the research stating having children reduces happiness may not be applicable to you at all.
Inspiring Videos That Will Keep Your Spirits High
Why Do We Fall – This video highlights the fundamentals of success, and specifically reiterates the importance of persevering in the face of severe adversity.
How Great I Am – This compilation video shares some characteristics with the one above, but I found it personally very well made and included some sporting legends who I grew up fascinated by. It’s a great short watch.
Instructions for a Bad Day – This beautifully written and produced short film by a written word artist gives some practical advice on how to overcome a bad day. I found this majestic and intelligent simultaneously.
Lost Generation – This almost optical-illusion video entertainingly addresses the false perception of the younger generation, including our views on marriage, family, priorities regarding work, money and the environment.
Be Kind to Others, It Will Pay Off – This video made me realise I should never underestimate the impact of my interactions with others has on the wider society, and this video may make you think the same.
The Greatest Speech Ever Given – I’ll let you watch this one without a preface. One of my favourite videos of all time.
I hope you find value in these links, and if you have any suggestions of breakthrough research or articles/videos that you think would fit well into this list, please do let me know.