An excellent talk on Happiness by Harvard psychology professor. Very much worth the 22 minutes it takes to watch it. (Thanks to Greg Mankiw for the pointer) There's also a recent wall street journal article that's worth reading that follows up with interesting titbits like:
- The one piece of unhappiness that people never get used to is a bad commute. You can't get used to it because a bad commute is a different kind of hell every day. So the worst thing you can do is to buy a bigger house in the suburbs and get a bad commute out of it. The happiness from having a bigger house dissipates really quickly, but the bad commute's unhappiness stays around forever.
- People under-estimate the pleasures of socializing, chatting with friends, and otherwise goofing off.
And for those of you who are wealthy (you know who you are), here's a pointer on how to spend that money to maximize happiness.