UC Riverside

Sonja Lyubomirsky

Sonja Lyubomirsky

The Key to Happiness in Your Hands

Could one key to happiness be as close as an app on your iPhone?

In 2010, UCR Professor of Psychology Sonja Lyubomirsky teamed up with mobile application developer Signal Patterns to create a new “Live Happy” iPhone application. The app guides users through a set of daily activities, including goal setting and evaluating, replaying happy days and nurturing relationships, that can boost short- and long-term happiness.

Lyubomirsky is a leading researcher in the field of positive psychology, looking at what it is that makes people happy. Her work has shown that happiness and fulfillment results from choices that we make and how we interact with our world.

"Happy people frequently experience positive moods and these positive moods prompt them to be more likely to work actively toward new goals and build new resources," Lyubomirsky said.

In her book The How of Happiness, Lyubomirsky suggests that 40 percent of our levels of happiness may be increased through practice and conscious effort — giving people the power to become happier and therefore more likely to be successful.

According to Lyuomirsky, people who are happy "are more likely than their less-happy peers to have fulfilling marriages and relationships, high incomes, superior work performance, community involvement, robust health and even a long life."

Lyuomirsky is a sought-after expert in the field of positive psychology and has appeared on television numerous times. She has a blog on the Psychology Today website, has graced the cover of Time magazine and also appeared on 20/20 during a special on the science of happiness. Her work has made her a Faculty of the Year award winner and Faculty Mentor of the Year award winner.

In 2010, Lyubomirsky received a $150,000 grant from the Science of Generosity initiative at the University of Notre Dame to study the “Ripples of Generosity: Triggers, Social Propagation, and Outcomes.” The project involves recording and analyzing acts of generosity among 300 employees at a company in Japan and seeing how ripples of generosity move from person to person in a social network.

Learn more about the Live Happy app for the iPhone.

Visit Lyubomirsky's faculty listing.

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