“Happiness is not out there for us to find. The reason that it’s not out there is that it’s inside us.” ― Sonja Lyubomirsky,
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Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., received her A.B., summa cum laude, from Harvard University in 1989 and then received her PhD in 1994, from Stanford University in Social/Personality Psychology. Currently, Sonja Lyubomirsky is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside.
Lyubomirsky teaches courses in positive psychology and social psychology. She also serves as the Department of Psychology’s graduate advisor at the University, as well also received Faculty of the Year Award 2 years in a row and the Faculty Mentor of the Year Award.
Lyubomirsky has received several awards for her work – a few being the Templeton Positive Psychology Prize in 2002, the first place winner of The Mind Gym Academic Prize in 2008, and the Outstanding Research Award (with Nelson, Layous, Oberle, and Schonert-Reichl) at the 2012 Science of Compassion Conference.
She has also earned several grants for her research throughout the years that include a Science of Generosity grant, John Templeton Foundation grant, and a million-dollar grant (with Ken Sheldon) from the National Institute of Mental Health to conduct research on the possibility of permanently increasing happiness.
Her research has been acknowledged around the world, as she has been written about in hundreds of newspapers and magazines as well as appeared on radio shows, TV shows, and documentaries. She has also lectured a wide variety of audiences including entrepreneurs, military officers, mental health professionals, scholars and educators, business executives, and physicians.
Book 1: The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want
“Our expectations about what our lives should be like are greater than ever before; we believe that we can do anything, and we are profoundly disappointed when reality doesn’t meet or even come close to perfection.” ― Sonja Lyubomirsky,
Sonja Lyubomirsky wrote “The How of Happiness” as a comprehensive guide to understanding what happiness is and what it isn’t. The book consists of over a dozen happiness-enhancing strategies.
These happiness strategies are composed of activities and mindfulness actions that can help you reach a happier life. Lyubomirsky discussed how genetics determines 50% of your potential happiness, 10% can be attributed to differences in life circumstances or situations, and 40% of our potential happiness in within our power to change.
The 12 Happiness Enhancing Strategies
- Counting your blessings
- Cultivating optimism
- Avoiding over-thinking and social comparison
- Practicing acts of kindness
- Nurturing Relationships
- Doing more activities that truly engage you
- Replaying and savoring life’s joys
- Committing to your goals
- Developing strategies for coping
- Learning to forgive
- Practicing religion and spirituality
- Taking care of your body
Learn more about the steps of enhancing happiness in Lyubomirsky’s book! Click here.
Book 2: The Myths of Happiness
“The Myths of Happiness” is Lyubomirsky most recent book published in 2013. Lyubomirsky wrote about the major turning points in people’s life, both achievements and failures, to uncover the biggest misconceptions of these events on our overall long-term wellbeing.
Lyubomirsky debunks the myths that you will reach life-long happiness once you reach the culturally confirmed markers of adult success. (“I will be happy when I get married”, “I will be happy when I buy a new house”, etc.) No matter how big the life change, good or bad, we will return to our initial level of happiness. Therefore, we cannot short-sightedly place too much weight on our initial emotional responses. Read more in Lyubomirsky book by clicking here.
Sonja Lyubomirsky turns an empirical eye to the biggest, messiest moments, providing readers with the clear-eyed vision they need to build the healthiest, most satisfying life.
Subjective Happiness Scale
In 1999, Sonja Lyubomirsky & Heidi S. Lepper published the Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS). The SHS is designed to evaluating happiness using a 4-item measure of global subjective happiness. This assessment was developed and validated with a total of 2,732 participants in the United States and Russia.
Research into the SHS has shown high internal consistency and test-retest and self-peer correlations suggested good to excellent reliability. The SHS has since been translated to several languages.
Find more about using the Subjective Happiness Scale here.
What determines happiness?
How to Be Happy, with Sonja Lyubomirsky: Overview | Big Think Mentor
Sonja Lyubomirsky: Who Says You Need a Partner to be Happy on Valentine’s Day?
Lyubomirsky’s ‘Live Happy’ App
Lyubomirsky has launched a positive psychology app, called Live Happy, to help you consciously acquire and master happiness. Anyone can follow this research-based app program anywhere and through the simple daily activities you can develop a new mindset to live a happier life.
Lyubomirsky, S. (2015). About the Author | The How of Happiness. (2015). Retrieved here.
Lyubomirsky, S. (2015). About the Book | The How of Happiness. Retrieved here.
Lyubomirsky, S. (2015). About the Book | The Myths of Happiness. Retrieved here.
Lyubomirsky, S. (2015). Curriculum vitae – Sonja Lyubomirsky. Retrieved November from here.
Lyubomirsky, S. (2008, July 16). Sonja Lyubomirsky’s 12 Happiness-Enhancing Strategies. Retrieved here.
Lyubomirsky, S., & Lepper, H. (1999). A measure of subjective happiness: Preliminary reliability and construct validation. Social Indicators Research, 46, 137-155