Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Balance

Select An Article
Font Size

Happiness: 6 Myths and Truths

Don't Fall for These Happiness Myths; Learn How to Overcome Them
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Marina Katz, MD

If you'd like to have more joy in your life – and who wouldn't? -- the first step may be to change your views about what happiness really is. See what experts have to say about common myths about happiness that may actually be holding you back.

Myth 1: Either you have it or you don't.

Say you have two kids you've raised just the same, but they have opposite personalities -- one sour, the other sunny. This makes it hard to dispute the fact that genes play a powerful role in each person's happiness. And there's evidence that suggests genetics contributes to about 50% of your happiness "set point" -- the level of happiness that seems most normal for you.

But that's a far cry from 100%, says Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, author of The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want and professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside.

"If you do the work," Lyubomirsky says, "research shows you can become happier, no matter what your set point is. You probably won't go from a one to a 10, but you can become happier. It just takes commitment and effort as with any meaningful goal in life."

Not only can you become happier, she says, but it gets easier over time. Work on nurturing relationships, writing in a gratitude journal, committing random acts of kindness, or developing a program of morning meditation or exercise. Changes like these -- proven methods for enhancing happiness -- can become habits after a while, which means they eventually take less effort.

Myth 2: Happiness is a destination.

Many people think of happiness as a destination or acquisition -- whether it's marriage, money, or a move to a new location. Sure, things like these can contribute to happiness, but not as much as you might think, Lyubomirsky says. They account for only about 10% of your whole happiness picture.

If you've done the math, you now realize that about 40% of your happiness is in your hands. Lasting happiness has more to do with how you behave and think -- things you control -- than with many of life's circumstances.

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

woman in yoga class
6 health benefits of yoga.
beautiful girl lying down of grass
10 relaxation techniques to try.
mature woman with glass of water
Do you really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day?
coffee beans in shape of mug
Get the facts.
Take your medication
Hand appearing to hold the sun
Hungover man
Welcome mat and wellington boots
Woman worn out on couch
Happy and sad faces
Fingertip with string tied in a bow
laughing family