Sonja received her A.B., summa cum laude, from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in Social/Personality Psychology from Stanford University. Lyubomirsky currently teaches courses in social psychology and well-being science. Her teaching and mentoring of students have been recognized with two Faculty of the Year awards and a Faculty Mentor of the Year award.
Lyubomirsky’s research – on how and why happiness can shift over time — has been honored with Fellow status from three different scientific societies, the Diener Award for Outstanding Midcareer Contributions in Personality Psychology, the Christopher J. Peterson Gold Medal, the UC Riverside Distinguished Research Lecturer Award, a Templeton Positive Psychology Prize, and a variety of grants, including from the John Templeton Foundation, Character Lab, and NIH. Lyubomirsky’s best-selling 2008 book, The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want (Penguin Press) and her second book, The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy, But Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy, But Does, have been published in 36 countries.
In her work, Lyubomirsky has focused on developing a science of human happiness. To this end, her research addresses three critical questions:
1) What makes people happy?
2) Is happiness a good thing?
3) How can we make people happier still?
For example, she is currently exploring the potential of happiness-sustaining activities – for example, expressing gratitude, doing acts of kindness, fostering micro-connections, acting more extraverted, making someone else happier, affirming significant values, visualizing a positive future, and savoring positive experiences – to durably increase a person’s happiness level. She has been conducting research on happiness for 30 years and has published widely in the area.