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In David G. Myers book The Pursuit Of Happiness (1993), he addresses the truth about what genuinely brings happiness and contentment to people’s lives. In his epilogue after going through many studies, he sums up his findings:

By scrutinizing the fruits of hundreds of painstaking studies of well-being, we have first dispelled some popular but mistaken ideas:

1. That few people are genuinely happy

2. That wealth buys well-being

3. That tragedies, such as disabling accidents, permanently erode happiness

4. That happiness springs from memories of intense, if rare, positive experiences (idyllic vacations, ecstatic romances, joy filled victories)

5. That teens and the elderly are the unhappiest people

6. That trial marriages reduce the risk of later divorce

7. That religious faith suppresses happiness

We’ve also pondered things that DO promote happiness:

1. Fit and healthy bodies

2. Realistic goals and expectations

3. Positive self-esteem

4. Supportive friendships that enable companionship and confiding

5. A socially intimate, sexually warm, equitable marriage

6. Challenging work and active leisure, punctuated by adequate rest and retreat

7. A faith that entails communal support, purpose, acceptance, outward focus, and hope.

(Myers, pages 205, 206)

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