Don’t you want to be happy in life?
Most of us want to be happy, but happiness can be elusive.
You have probably experienced times in your life when you felt a real sense of happiness for one reason or another.
Life experiences such as celebrating a birthday or an anniversary, receiving a gift, or achieving a goal can make us feel happy.
The problem with happiness is that it can be temporary and is often short-lived. In other words, happiness comes and goes.
One moment we can feel happy and on top of the world and the next moment or the next day that same feeling of happiness goes away.
What Is Happiness?
Many people associate happiness with some type of achievement or an external reward.
For example, we convince ourselves that if we could just reach a certain point in our career or achieve a certain status in life then we would be happy.
Most of us have experienced this before. If we’re stuck in a job we don’t like, we tell ourselves that we’ll get a different job that will make us happy.
We do the same thing with possessions such as cars, homes, clothes, and other items. We buy things that make us feel happy.
But it doesn’t last.
For us to understand what it means to be happy, we have to look beyond external factors such as our achievements and possessions.
What Makes Us Happy?
If these things won’t make and keep us happy, then what will?
A study on happiness published in 2005 by researchers Sonja Lyubomirsky, Kennon Sheldon, and David Schkade found that there are three factors that contribute to our happiness.
1. Our genetics. (50%)
2. Our actions and the things we do. (40%)
3. Our life circumstances. (10%)
As you can see above, the primary determining factor affecting our happiness is our genetic makeup.
We are all born with a certain happiness predisposition which these same researchers call our “happiness set point.”
This may explain why some people, especially when younger, seem to be happier in life than others.
Surprisingly, our life circumstances, experiences like buying a home or having a birthday, only contribute to up to 10% of our overall happiness.
This could explain why the happiness we experience from achievements, possessions, and other changes in our life circumstances are fleeting.
The third component of happiness is intentional action.
The actions and activities that we do regularly, whether we do them intentionally or not, can affect up to 40% of our overall happiness.
This means that what we do regularly or consistently in our daily lives can greatly impact our overall degree of happiness in life.
In other words, our actions and behaviors can tip the scale in a way that is positive or negative.
With this in mind here are a few ways we can increase our happiness in life by adjusting our behavior and actions.
7 Actionable Ways To Be Happy
1. Pay closer attention to how we feel.
2. Identify actions, activities, and behaviors that we like to do or that increase our happiness.
3. Develop daily habits, things like taking a walk or talking to a friend, that tilt our “happiness set point” consistently in the positive direction.
4. Ask ourselves, “what’s missing”, “what’s happening” or “why do I feel this way” when we don’t experience happiness.
5. Stop pursuing happiness through achievements, possessions, or other external means.
6. Identify situations and circumstances that reduce our happiness and reduce them or eliminate them from our lives.
7. Remember that being purposeful about our actions can increase our overall happiness in life.
One Final Thought
As you pursue happiness in your own life, I leave you with this final thought.
True happiness comes from the inside-out and not the other way around. Look within your one heart, mind, and life to experience lasting happiness.
Here are some helpful resources about happiness.
5 Basic Factors for Happiness, According to Carl Jung – GretchenRubin.com
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