I have been exploring how the thoughts and behaviors common among naturally happy people–for example, affirming one’s core values or practicing acts of kindness–can be nurtured, acquired, or directly taught.
Specifically, I have investigated the mechanisms underlying the efficacy of simple behaviors or “positive activities” to boost well-being.
For example, in several longitudinal experiments, I have found that affirming one’s core values, performing acts of kindness, and practicing optimism lead to increases in happiness and meaning in life.
Nelson, S. K., Fuller, J. A. K., Choi, I., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2014). Beyond self-protection: Self-affirmation benefits hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 998-1011.
Layous, K., Nelson, S. K., Oberle, E., Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2012). Kindness counts: Prompting prosocial behavior in preadolescents boosts peer acceptance and well-being. PLOS ONE, 7, e51380.