Debbie Downers everywhere, get ready to say ‘I told you so.’ New research shows that, amazingly, being happy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Contrary to what you might think, being truly happy means that you also realize there are times you’ll be unhappy, and that life can’t be sunshine and roses all the time. That way, you’re prepared when the going does get rough, and you’re thus better equipped to face the challenges that arise. No, you shouldn’t lower your expectations for a happy life or start expecting rainy days when it might be sunny. But by managing expectations and expecting challenges, you will be better off. In fact, there’s a biological reinforcement for this too: Your levels of C-reactive protein (a marker of damaging inflammation) have been shown to be higher when you have unattainable expectations, which means that being realistic keeps the ol’ stress levels down all around.

QUIZ: Are You Feeling Stressed?