Can Pursuing Happiness Make You Unhappy?

 Can you handle the effort it takes you actually pursue happiness? For a study published in the journal Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, researchers from Rutgers University and University of Toronto Scarborough had half of study participants list things that would make them happier or asked them to make themselves happy while watching a dull movie (demonstrating the pursuit of happiness), and had the other half think of happiness as a goal they had already accomplished, achieved by watching a slapstick comedy, or listing items they already have that make them happy. Afterwards, all participants reported how much free time they felt they had. The results showed that a person’s perception of time scarcity is influenced by their pursuit of (often unattainable) happiness. That feeling wasn’t as pronounced among those who were in the latter group. Researchers write, “Time seems to vanish amid the pursuit of happiness, but only when seen as a goal requiring continued pursuit. This finding adds depth to the growing body of work suggesting that the pursuit of happiness can ironically undermine well-being. […] By encouraging people to worry less about pursuing happiness as a never-ending goal, successful interventions might just end up giving them more time and, in turn, more happiness.” (EurekAlert!