But is it really a good thing to be ultrahappy? Nobody thrives on sheer misery, of course, but might there be perils in endlessly striving for more and more good cheer and sunny days? Or, put another way: is happiness overrated?
A growing number of psychologists are thinking it might be, and one team in particular has been conducting some large-scale, data-heavy studies to test the point. Shigehiro Oishi, Ed Diener and Richard Lucas decided to compare people who see themselves as being extremely happy with people who describe themselves as being only moderately so. Surprisingly, this had never been done before—at least not this thoroughly. They studied men and women, young and old, students and working people, hundreds of thousands of people from all over the globe. After all the data crunching they came up with some consistent and surprising insights.