Hope. We think of it as a critical component to warding off depression, as a thing happy people have easy access to. And to a great extent that is true. But there’s a limit to how much hope is helpful. This study shows how unrealistic hope can be harmful and prevent us from reaching true happiness. People who believed that a permanent medical condition was temporary reported less happiness in the aftermath of the procedure than people who believed it was permanent and had to accept it. It demonstrates the importance of acceptance in the face of things we can’t change. When you think something bad will go away you tend to spend time focusing on how happy you’ll be when it’s better. When you accept that this thing is here to stay you figure out how to be happy now.

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