Let's talk about unhappiness. Specifically, how it's growing in one segment of our society. And no, it's not white congressmen from South Carolina, hip-hop artists who feel Beyoncé got slighted, or recipients of ill-timed foot-fault calls.
It's women. According to study after study, women are becoming more and more unhappy. This drop in happiness is found in women across the social and economic landscape. It doesn't matter what their marital status is, how much money they make, whether or not they have children, their ethnic background, or the country they live in. Women around the world are in a funk.
And it's not because of the multitude of crises we are facing. Women's happiness has been on a downward trend since the early 1970s, when the General Social Survey, a landmark study, began examining the social attitudes of women and men -- who, by the way, have gotten progressively happier over the years.
When you think about all that has happened over the last four decades -- with women securing greater opportunity, greater achievement, greater influence, and more money -- the decline in our collective state of mind seems to defy logic, and raises the vexing question: What in the world is going on?
It's a question we'll be exploring in depth on HuffPost in the coming weeks, in a series of blog posts by bestselling author and lecturer Marcus Buckingham. Drawing on his years as a senior researcher at Gallup, Marcus has developed a far-ranging expertise on what all of us -- but especially women -- can do to live richer, more purposeful, and, yes, happier lives.
Marcus kicks things off today with a look at "What's Happening to Women's Happiness?" a post in which he drills into the data on women and happiness, and looks at what is causing the downward drift. He also sets the table for the coming weeks during which he will lay out his prescriptions for bucking the unhappiness trend, the subject of his latest book Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently," which will be published on September 29th (just six days before our Books section launches!).
As part of this, he will introduce his new Strong Life Test, a tool to help women recognize precisely which parts of their lives are going to bring them the most joy, pleasure, energy, satisfaction, and, ultimately, greater happiness. According to Marcus, "It doesn't give you all the answers, but it tells you where to start."
Among the other topics Marcus will be blogging about: "The Myth of Multitasking," "The Myth of More Free Time," "The Myth of Kids Wanting More Time with Their Working Mothers," and one I am especially interested in, "The Myth of Striving for a Balanced Life" (he feels women need to imbalance their lives, putting more emphasis on those things that most fulfill them).