Can you become happier?

Can you become happier?

ENHANCE Happiness and Well-Being study opens to new participants

Two UBC psychology professors are combining their areas of expertise to open the ENHANCE trial, now in its second year, to a new group of Okanagan residents.

ENHANCE —Enduring Happiness and Continued Self-Enhancement — is a randomized clinical trial created by Lesley Lutes, director of Clinical Training, and Derrick Wirtz, director of Psychological Science. Introduced in 2016, ENHANCE is aimed at determining whether people can increase their sense of well-being in the short- and long-term by using principles supported by years of research.

“People often view happiness as an essential ingredient to living a good life and would like to experience greater well-being than they currently do,” Wirtz said. “We are excited to bring an evidence-based program to the Okanagan that can help people do this.”

Last year, when the ENHANCE study got underway, the interest from the community was remarkable, which is why they are offering the chance to a new group of people to participate in the study.

The six-month study will compare two evidence-based programs to improve a person’s well-being, happiness and mindfulness. It is among the first of its kind, said Wirtz, noting that psychological scientists are increasingly investigating positive states, their causes and their consequences. Developed in collaboration with one of the pioneers of the study of human happiness, the ENHANCE trial is an effort to explore the benefits of positive feelings.

“The first phase of the ENHANCE trial showed us that people can increase their happiness and satisfaction with life,” Lutes said. “In its second year, the study focuses on exploring how and why those positive changes occur.”

Experiencing greater well-being is also important, according to research.

“Feeling happy and satisfied with life is rewarding, but the rewards don’t end there,” said Wirtz. “People who enjoy greater well-being also have better health and social relationships.”

Participants in the trial will receive a three-month research-based program for increasing well-being and mindfulness, three additional months of follow-up, and a program workbook and materials. At the end of the study, participants will be entered into a raffle to receive a $100 VISA gift card.

To inquire about the ENHANCE trial, email