05 Dec Could there possibly be a downside to creating happiness?
Research by Dan Gilbert (Harvard), his students and colleagues clearly indicates that we can synthesize our own happiness despite what would seem like dire circumstances or poor choices. The thing is, this powerful innate coping mechanism or psychological immune system can be a liability as well, because it can undermine our motivation for action.
There’s little doubt about it, we’re very good at finding “the silver lining” to any dark cloud. For example, my previous posting about cogntive dissonance provides examples of the strategies we use to reduce any internal conflict we may feel, and Dan Gilbert’s research provides ample experimental evidence that we can manufacture our own happiness as we enhance our positive hedonic response to align with our choices or current situation. If you’re not familiar with Dan’s work, you can get an good introduction with his TED talk and you may enjoy his book Stumbling on Happiness.
Personally, I’m not too sure about this but there may well be advantages and disadvantages to happiness just like there are pros and cons to almost anything! Do you want to read more about the potential downside to happiness?