July 1, 2013

Happiness: The Crucial 40%

For a long time, researchers thought that people’s happiness level was predetermined.  That no matter what happened to you, or what you did differently, you could never become significantly and permanently more happy.  It flies in the face of what most of us have thought from time to time: “If I just lost weight… made more money… were dating someone… I’d be happy.”  Even though I know this line of thinking is artificial, the thought of a predetermined happiness level is kind of depressing so I started reading The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky.  Right off the bat she starts with some empowering information: genetics is responsible for 50% of the difference in people’s happiness levels, life circumstances account for a mere 10%, and the other 40% of the difference stems from how we think and what we do.  Though there is some disagreement about this research, most experts agree on this: we can greatly affect our mood and our level of happiness by thinking and behaving with a focus on happiness.  It’s just a matter of figuring out how to do that.  Stay tuned!

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