Unsurprisingly, researchers have also linked increased levels of happiness to better-functioning immune systems and to decreased amounts of stress. "Positive emotions can serve as antidotes to negative emotions. So learning how to increase the levels of positive emotion in your life can actually make you feel less stressed, more resilient, less angry, less anxious," says Lyubomirsky.
For researchers like Lyubomirsky, the recession created a host of new problems. Notably, psychologists often work to increase happiness by breaking it down into its component parts—which include optimism, resiliency, and autonomy—and augmenting each one separately. But for workers in the current job market, many of these ingredients still tend to be in short supply.
Still, that doesn't mean they can't be manufactured. Lyubomirsky, for instance, has found that 40 percent of the differences in happiness levels between one person and another can be explained by factors that, unlike certain life circumstances, are directly under individuals' control. "A lot of our happiness with our job is really about how we view it. It comes from us, not necessarily just the job," she says.