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Positive Psychology in Practice: Promoting Human Flourishing in Work, Health, Education, and Everyday Life, 2nd Edition by Stephen Joseph

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Chapter 11The Prospects, Practices, and Prescriptions for the Pursuit of Happiness

KRISTIN LAYOUS, KENNON M. SHELDON AND SONJA LYUBOMIRSKY

Happiness is a central criterion of mental health (Keyes, 2005; Taylor & Brown, 1988) and has been found to be associated with numerous tangible benefits, such as enhanced physical health, reduced psychopathology, greater productivity, more fulfilling relationships, and even longer life (see Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener, 2005, for a review). Thus, an important goal for psychology is advancing knowledge about how to help people increase their levels of happiness, positive mental health, and personal thriving. During the last decade, researchers have made a great deal of progress investigating intentional ways to increase happiness—yielding both theory (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade, 2005) and empirical evidence (see Sin & Lyubomirsky, 2009, for a meta-analysis) supporting the notion that happiness levels can be increased. Furthermore, growing research is pointing to the optimal conditions under which happiness-enhancing activities work to increase well-being, as well as the processes underlying these strategies' success (Lyubomirsky & Layous, 2013). Finally, preliminary studies suggest that increasing happiness through positive activities may lead to multiple favorable downstream effects on people's health, work, and relationships (e.g., Fredrickson, Cohn, Coffey, Pek, & Finkel, 2008).

Although the concept of happiness is widely understood ...

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