The happiness lab


“It’s well known that living through hard circumstances can make us happier because it teaches each of us to be grateful for so many things in life,” Santos says. In academic studies, gratitude, she says, consistently comes top of the list of what makes humans truly happy.

One of the misconceptions about happiness is that it comes down to our circumstances, she says. “In fact, the data suggests that with a little time and the right practices [as long as we have a roof over our head and our basic needs met], we can thrive in whatever situation we are in.” Furthermore, she says — give a sigh of relief — those happiness-making practices don’t necessarily involve baking bread, crafting the Acropolis out of toilet rolls or shouting at a screenful of friends.

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