Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? According to numerous researchers, when it comes to happiness, more is not necessarily better.
Although the positive side effects of happiness are many -- including protection from strokes and the common cold, resistance to pain, increased life expectancy and, of course, feeling good -- many researchers are suggesting that happiness, like chocolate, is best enjoyed in moderation. A healthy balance, they tell the Washington Post, would be to feel three positive emotions for every negative one. But, let's get serious, emotions don't really work like that.
What's so wrong with being an all-around happy person, anyway? June Gruber, psychology professor from Yale University, agrees that too much happiness can have negative outcomes.
"Research indicates that very high levels of positive feeling predict risk-taking behaviours, excess alcohol and drug consumption, binge eating and may lead us to neglect threats," she tells the Washington Post.
Psychologist Edward Diener from the University of Illinois says excessive happiness could have a negative impact on your career, too. His global research indicates that people who reported being very pleased with their lives early on ended up having lower incomes in later years than people who had been slightly less satisfied with their lives.
Diener believes this is because always-happy people, who are also usually content with their jobs, don't feel the same type of pressure as others do to further their education levels or look into more lucrative career possibilities.
While sadness and negativity are generally considered to be undesirable traits, studies have shown that typically sad people tend to be more detail-oriented and systematic. Happiness, on the other hand, can sometimes lead to snap judgements and stereotyping, reports the Washington Post.
And if you're still not buying it, here's something we can probably all relate to. Jonathan Schooler, psychology professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, found through an experiment that while the majority of people he interviewed were not pleased with their millennium New Year's Eve celebrations, the most disappointed of all were the people who put a lot of effort into preparing for the event and had highly anticipated it.
"It's a delicate balance between savouring experiences, being able to appreciate, say, a glass of good wine, and excessively being preoccupied with 'Am I having fun yet?'" says Schooler.
He's not saying people should give up entirely on trying or wanting to be happy, he just believes that focusing all of your attention on it could be sabotaging your efforts.
What do you think is the right amount of happiness? Is it even quantifiable?
Perhaps gardening is one thing that brings you a lot of joy? Watch the video below about how you can grow a great garden this spring even without a green thumb.