Emotional Resilience Blog from The Fear Course

The latest research, realisations and thinking in the world of emotional resilience, anxiety and fear reduction from around the world.

Does Happiness Lead to Success?

Does Happiness Lead to Success?

Most people assume that successful people are happy. Many studies have found that things like positive relationships, comfortable income, good mental health and accomplishment are all related to happiness. One study found that whilst having a comfortable income, i.e. not being anxious about money on a continual basis is one of the factors which can underlie happiness, more money does equate to greater levels of happiness. They found that the wealthy do not have more happiness than those on lower income levels.

In all of the studies good relationships and friendships consistently rank high for promoting happiness. More recently studies have found that contributing or volunteering towards a good cause or doing a good deed also has a significant positive effect on people's happiness.

An interesting question is whether or not happy people tend to do better in life?
There is a growing body of evidence to show that happy people tend to broaden and build resources and resourcefulness. They tend to build more positive and deeper relationships with others which in turn can lead to greater levels of happiness.

Researchers have found that positive people often tend to use the happy periods of their life to develop and strive to attain new goals, which leads to greater life satisfaction. in effect positive people see a new challenge and take action. This action then often leads to achievement which in turn leads to a feeling of success and contentment and more positive constructions of the world. There is a sense of having not just control over their lives, but positive control and good feelings or happiness. This then promotes confidence, greater levels of optimism and self belief. It has also been found that these attributes lead to their becoming more likeable to others and they are also more likely to be more positive and charitable towards other people. This then leads to greater levels of sociability, more prosocial behaviour which is also correlated with greater levels of activity and energy.

Further studies have found that positive happy people tend to suffer from less general ill-health in that they have greater levels of immunity to things like colds etc. Additionally studies have found that positive happy people also tend to be more effective in coping with life challenges and stress and they show greater levels of creativity, problem solving ability and general cognitive flexibility.

In effect happy people often have greater levels of active involvement in goal oriented pursuits. A positive perspective promotes approaching situations as opposed to avoidance, which in turn leads to a greater chance of success.

One large scale meta-analysis of previous research published in 2005 found that happy positive people are significantly more likely to succeed in their job and receive higher job ratings from employers and managers than people who were less positive and are not as generally happy. There is a range of evidence now appearing that shows that because of these effects, happy, positive people tend to be more successful across a range of activities, including work.

For a FREE 16 part video course showing you how to be Calm, Composed and Confident click here



Argyle, M., & Martin, M. (1991). The psychological causes of happiness. In F. Strack, M. Argyle, & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Subjective well-being: An interdisciplinary perspective (pp. 77–100). Elmsford, NY: Pergamon Press.

Aspinwall, L. G. (1998). Rethinking the role of positive affect in self-regulation. Motivation and Emotion, 22, 1–32.

Aspinwall, L. G., & Brunhart, S. M. (1996). Distinguishing optimism fromdenial: Optimistic beliefs predict attention to health threats.Personalityand Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 993–1003.

Lyubomirsky, S., King, L. & Diener, E. (2005) The Benefits of Frequent Positive Affect: Does Happiness Lead to Success?Psychological Bulletin 2005, Vol. 131, No. 6, 803–855

Berscheid, E. (2003). The human's greatest strength: Other humans. In L. G. Aspinwall & U. M. Staudinger (Eds.), A psychology of human strengths: Fundamental questions and future directions for a positive psychology (pp. 37–47). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1981). Attention and self-regulation: A control-theory approach to human behaviour. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1990). Origins and functions of positive and negative affect: A control-process view. Psychological Review, 97, 19–35.

Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1998). On the self regulation of behaviour. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (2001). Optimism, pessimism, and self- regulation. In E. C. Chang (Ed.), Optimism and pessimism: Implications for theory, research, and practice (pp. 31–51). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Diener, E. (1994). Assessing subjective well-being: Progress and opportunities. Social Indicators Research, 31, 103–157.

Diener, E., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2002). Will money increase subjective well-being? Social Indicators Research, 57, 119–169.
Diener, E., Colvin, C. R., Pavot, W. G., & Allman, A. (1991). The psychic costs of intense positive affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61,

Diener, E., & Fujita, F. (1995). Resources, personal strivings, and subjective well-being: A nomothetic and idiographic approach. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 926–935.

Diener, E., Gohm, C. L., Suh, E., & Oishi, S. (2000). Similarity of the relations between marital status and subjective well-being across cultures. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 31,

Larsen, R. J., & Ketelaar, T. (1991). Personality and susceptibility to positive and negative emotional states. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 61, 132–140419–436

Lucas, R. E., & Diener, E. (2003). The happy worker: Hypotheses about the role of positive affect in worker productivity. In M. Burrick & A. M. Ryan (Eds.),
Personality and work (pp. 30–59). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Lyubomirsky, S., & Ross, L. (1997). Hedonic consequences of social comparison: A contrast of happy and unhappy people. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73,

Lyubomirsky, S., Sheldon, K. M., & Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change. Review of General Psychology, 9,

Pinquart, M., & Sorensen, S. (2000). Influences of socioeconomic status, social network, and competence on subjective well-being in later life: A meta-analysis. Psychology and Aging, 15, 187–224

Pressman, S. D., & Cohen, S. (2005). Does positive affect influence health? Psychological Bulletin, 131, 925–971

Salovey, P., & Rosenhan, D. L. (1989). Mood states and prosocial behavior. In H. Wagner & A. Manstead (Eds.), Handbook of social psycho-physiology
(pp. 371–391). Chichester, England: Wiley

Thoresen, C. J., Kaplan, S. A., Barsky, A. P., Warren, C. R., & de Chermont, K. (2003). The affective underpinnings of job perceptions and attitudes: A meta-analytic review and integration. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 914–945

Verkley, H., & Stolk, J. (1989). Does happiness lead into idleness? In R. Veenhoven (Ed.), How harmful is happiness? (pp. 79–93). Rotterdam, Amsterdam: University of Rotterdam.

Wilson, W. (1967). Correlates of avowed happiness. Psychological Bulletin, 67,294–306

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
4754 Hits