March 6, 2007 For most of modern civilization, efforts to understand the human psyche have concentrated on understanding the downsides of anger, depression, anxiety and mental illness. In more recent times, there has been a great deal of scientific exploration of what makes people happy. In our increasingly complex society, happiness is not the simple product of favourable circumstance. Well-being is dependent on making the right individual choices. Handling freedom is not always easy and that has created a demand for happiness advice. Philosophers, psychologists and spiritual thinkers offer happiness counsel, but their widely differing views have never been empirically scrutinized. A special issue on Happiness Advice of the Journal of Happiness Studies published online this week, fills this gap, by comparing the advice given with what is known about the conditions of happiness observed in empirical research.
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