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05 Oct 2010 | Fox News
"Don't worry, be happy" may be more than just a wishful mantra.
A new study finds that people's happiness levels can change
substantially over their lifetimes, suggesting that happiness isn't
predetermined by genes or personality.
Psychologists have long argued that people have a "set point"
for happiness. Regardless of what life brings, the set-point theory
goes, happiness levels tend to be stable. A big life event could
create a boost of joy or a crush of sorrow, but within a few years,
people return to a predetermined level of life satisfaction,
according to the theory.
The new study, which used a nationally representative sample of
almost 150,000 German adults, finds the opposite. People's
long-term life satisfaction can change, the researchers report
today (Oct. 4) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences. In fact, a substantial number of people followed over 25
years saw their happiness levels shift by one-third or more.
Read article here
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