The Science of Happiness
With stress and pressure becoming a common part of everyday life, understanding the what, how and why of happiness is increasingly important.
Our level of happiness is believed to be a result of complex interaction between genetics, behaviors, and what’s going on in our lives. While each person has a genetic set point for happiness, in the same way your genetics influence your weight, the research into positive psychology has (ironically) provided very positive news for anyone wanting to improve their levels of happiness.
The conclusion - You have the power to take control of your happiness by choosing your thoughts, behaviors and actions.
Please note, that experiencing the ups and downs of life is part of the human experience and positive psychology is not intended to belittle mental health or a personal experience, rather, help understand how the mind works and give insight and tools to assist. If you have any concerns about your mental health, please consult your GP.
So How Much Influence Do We Really Have Over Our Happiness?
Luckily, science has done the math for us and found that approximately 50% of our happiness is predetermined by factors, such as genetics. Whether positive or negative, our life circumstances appear to only influence 10% of our happiness.
Studies of lottery winners have found that after the immediate peak in happiness, the winners eventually return to their pre-lottery happiness levels.
This is also true for a traumatic event, with the long term happiness levels reflecting those of pre-trauma.
That leaves 40% of your happiness that is influenced by the practices you do and intentional effort you put in.
The Obstacles (for the average person)
You can become happier, but it does take work, daily effort and it is not easy. It takes permanent changes that require effort and commitment.
Your mind can lie to you. In other words, the thing that your mind tells you will make you happy, won’t necessarily make you happy.
For instance, unless you are living below the poverty line, having more material wealth does not increase your happiness levels.
In fact, if you are already earning a decent living, an increase in salary can actually negatively impact your happiness levels.
Your mind leads you off track, you have to learn how to tell when it is, and what you should do or aim for instead.
See below for our (scientifically backed) tips to creating happiness habits.
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