As I mentioned in my last blog, psychologists are now doing major research in determining what makes people happy. These researchers are called Positive Psychologists and some of what they are discovering is fascinating. Take Sonja Lyubomirsky at The University of California at Riverside who wrote a book based on her research called “The How of Happiness.” She addresses the question of what determines happiness? and finds the following:
(1) about 50% is due to genetics; that is, we all have a biological “set point” that probably cannot be modified. Some of us are just naturally more dour than others. On the other hand, are the disgusting people who wake up chirping like a bird every morning.
(2) About 10% – yes, only 10% – of happiness is due to life circumstances. This includes circumstances such material wealth and beauty.
(3) About 40% of happiness is due to intentional activity. Wow! What a finding. This means that at least 40% of your happiness is under your control and includes specific behaviors and ways of thinking that will increase or decrease your happiness.
So, what are these activities and which ones will work for you? Lyubomirsky discusses and describes 12 happiness activities that seem to have a positive effect on people’s happiness.
Which ones will work for you depends on your personality, needs and circumstances. Many seem to be commons sense, yet unhappy people have not yet learned these basic life skills.