Do you think getting married, or making more money would make you happy? Surprisingly – probably not. That’s according to UC Riverside psychology professor Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky. Here’s what she has to say: 

  • First: Getting married doesn’t guarantee you’ll live happily ever after. Studies show that the average person gets a two year happiness boost when they marry. Then, they return to their pre-engagement happiness level. So, what’s a good way to keep your marriage happy? Be supportive of each other. Research shows that in the closest relationships, partners react supportively to their partner’s good news. So, when your partner tells you they’re getting promoted, be excited and celebrate with them. Instead of underminding their joy by bringing up negatives. like “Guess this means you’ll be working weekends now.” 

  • Another myth: Your “dream job” will make you happy. Studies show that joy from a new work environment usually fades within one year. That’s because the higher you climb, the more work and responsibilities you get – which boosts stress. The fix?  Once you land your dream job, “re-experience” what you didn’t like about your old job once a month. That’ll remind you switching jobs was smart. For example, if you used to make a lot less money, spend one week a month living on your old salary. 

  • And the final happiness myth: Life after your 20s will be dull, stressful and lacking in fun. Science proves that’s not true. Research shows that we’re actually happiest when we’re 64. That’s when we recognize that our years are limited, focus on things that matter, and let stress roll off our backs. 

And here are some universal happiness boosters: Spending time with family and friends, volunteering and trying new experiences.