Is It Possible to Become Happier? (And If So, How?)



Although some theory suggests that it is impossible to increase one's subjective well-being (SWB), our ‘sustainable happiness model’ (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade, 2005) specifies conditions under which this may be accomplished. To illustrate the three classes of predictor in the model, we first review research on the demographic/circumstantial, temperament/personality, and intentional/experiential correlates of SWB. We then introduce the sustainable happiness model, which suggests that changing one's goals and activities in life is the best route to sustainable new SWB. However, the goals and activities must be of certain positive types, must fit one's personality and needs, must be practiced diligently and successfully, must be varied in their timing and enactment, and must provide a continued stream of fresh positive experiences. Research supporting the model is reviewed, including new research suggesting that happiness intervention effects are not just placebo effects.