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Most people want to live a happier life. But happiness is not easy to achieve despite the many proposed formulas: Get enough sleep. Exercise. Meditate. Help others. While they are linked to happiness, they don't work for everyone.
Researchers have turned to smartphones to try and understand happiness better. Thousand of people have contributed to The Happiness Project, a smartphone app that tracks happiness.
Research found that happiness depends not on how well someone is doing but if they're doing better than expected.
However, high expectations can be a problem. Expecting too much and not finding it can cause unhappiness. On the other end, if you always expect the worst, it isn't easy to make good choices. Realistic expectations are generally the best.
Most events don't affect happiness for long. If you've received a promotion, you'll be happy for a while until your brain has adjusted to the circumstances, then you are ready to make your next move.
It might be better to view happiness differently. Happiness is a tool, not a goal. As a tool, happiness can tell us if something went well or motivate us to keep going. When our happiness drops, it may be time to try something new.
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