Asian culture does not emphasize the importance of personal happiness as much as European culture does, and thus Asian Americans believe that they are generally less happy than their European American counterparts. In one study, volunteers carried handheld computers everywhere they went for a week and recorded how they were feeling when the computer beeped at random intervals throughout the day. These reports showed that the Asian American volunteers were slightly happier than the European American volunteers. But when the volunteers were asked to remember how they had felt that week, the Asian American volunteers reported that they had felt less happy and not more.
The above passage is from Daniel Gilbert’s excellent Stumbling on Happiness. Here is my earlier post on the book. Hispanics, by the way, remembered feeling happier than they had been in the moment. One implication is that you cannot completely trust happiness studies based on self-reported data.
By the way: Have you figured out what is the secret but unpalatable way of making better life decisions?