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Why science says you deserve to be happy

(Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images)
(Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images)

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

The COVID pandemic upended life in almost every way imaginable.

“It disrupted a lot of things that naturally make us happy,” cognitive scientist Laurie Santos says.

This upheaval, the loss, the inequities laid bare by the pandemic has some people questioning: Do I deserve to be happy?

“We feel guilty because [we think] … we don’t deserve to be happy because there are people who are experiencing trauma or people going through these bad times” Santos says. “I think that gets to some kind of misconceptions about how happiness works, that it’s this like, zero-sum game.”

Fact: Happiness is not a zero-sum game. So, what is it?

Today, On Point: What science says about why you deserve to be happy.


Laurie Santos, cognitive scientist and professor of psychology at Yale University. Host of the podcast “The Happiness Lab.” (@lauriesantos)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst. (@JackBeattyNPR)

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Phyllis Levun-Agostino, artist and educator from Highland Park, IL.

Toni Kief, writer from Marysville, WA.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.