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Happiness Can Predict Successful Life Outcomes

Happy people predisposed to seek out goals that reinforce positive emotions

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Personal and professional success can be a consequence of happiness, not just a cause, because happy people are more likely to seek out and undertake new life goals that reinforce positive emotions, according to a study published in the November issue of the Psychological Bulletin.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., of the University of California, Riverside, and colleagues reviewed 225 studies examining the connections between desirable characteristics, life successes and well-being in more than 275,000 people.

The researchers found that happy people are more likely than their less-happy counterparts to have fulfilling marriages and relationships, high incomes, superior work performance, community involvement, robust health and a long life. They also found that positive emotions and chronic happiness are often associated with characteristics such as sociability, optimism, energy, originality and altruism, which engender success.

"Although our conclusions run counter to the belief that successful outcomes and desirable characteristics are primarily the causes, rather than the consequences, of happiness, a surprisingly large amount of evidence now appears to challenge this belief," the authors conclude.

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