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When British journalist and documentarian Ruth Whippman moved to California for her husband’s job in 2011, the weather wasn’t the only thing that was different from home. Everywhere she went, she noticed that people seemed obsessed with happiness.
“I literally never heard a British person use the word ‘blessed,’ and if they did, I would think they had joined a religious cult,” Whippman tells The Post.
In her new Silicon Valley home, she met a fellow mom, and they hit it off. But when she tried to schedule another get-together, the mom could never meet: She was at yoga, meditating or going to healing workshops. It seemed the mom’s quest for happiness did not include making new friends.
These observations propelled Whippman to find out whether the American obsession with happiness was actually making everyone miserable and more anxious. Her research took her everywhere from “happiness research centers” to Las Vegas, where Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh was so committed to happiness research, he embarked on a project in 2012 to build the “ideal” community. Whippman details her findings in her new book, “America the Anxious: How Our Pursuit of Happiness Is Creating a Nation of Nervous Wrecks” (St. Martin’s Press, out now).
The author also headed to Provo, Utah, the “happiest town in America,” according to Gallup polls. Surveys by the Pew Research Center and Gallup consistently support the idea that religious people are much more likely to report being “very happy” than nonbelievers; Provo has a population that’s over 90 percent Mormon.
Once there, Whippman visited Mormon housewives to find out if their lives were really as wholesome and happy as they appeared.
To read the full article on the New York Post, click here.