June 13, 2011 — Happiness is good for us, right? Thousands of self-help books tell us how to find it…phone apps allow us to track it. The psychology of being happy has been a hot topic in mental health for quite some time. But now, there are some dark clouds on the blissful horizon. New research in the field of positive psychology shows happiness in the wrong time or place can lead to social difficulties. Too much of it could be a sign of mental illness, and the relentless pursuit of it is self-centered and a futile journey anyway.
Dr. Dan Gottlieb takes a look at the so-called dark side of happiness with psychologists June Gruber and Dacher Keltner. Gruber has written, in part, A Dark Side of Happiness? How, When, and Why Happiness Is Not Always Good. She’s an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Yale University and Director of the Yale Positive Emotion and Psychopathology (YPEP) Laboratory. Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology at U-C Berkeley and is the director of the Greater Good Science Center. He’s written Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life.