Is being happy a choice we make or does it just happen? Can we really change our level of “happiness”? Is happiness something you can measure, chart and increase?
From the Declaration of Independence, where happiness is promised as a cherished right to the rows and rows of the psychology of happiness, self help and personal development books in bookstores and the millions of copies of these books that are sold- the U.S. is obsessed with how to be happy. Many social contexts have the production of happiness and positive feelings as a primary purpose in life.
What is happiness?
According to Webster happiness is:
A state of wellbeing and contentment; a pleasurable or satisfying experience.
Aristotle defines happiness as:
Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence. Happiness is a state of activity.
Ancient Greeks define happiness as:
The joy that we feel when we’re striving after our potential.
Gabrielle Bernstein, author, defines happiness as:
Happiness is the path of least resistance.
Dalai Llama refers to happiness as:
The very purpose of life is to seek happiness.
Researchers at Berkley define happiness as:
Having meaning and satisfaction in your life. It’s the propensity to feel positive emotions, the capacity to recover from negative emotions quickly and holding a sense of purpose.
How much of our happiness is within your control?
More than you might think.
Research by Sonia Lyubomirsky, PhD, at UC Riverside suggests life circumstances—how privileged you are, whether you’re married, whether you have kids—accounts for about 10 percent of the variance in happiness. She attributes 40 percent—nearly half the variance—to our daily life experiences. The people you see, the activities you do, how you see your world each day.
Think about this, 50% of our happiness is within our genes. Some of us routinely see the glass as ‘half full’ and are genetically predisposed to being more cheery than others. Then, 10% of our happiness is made up of the things that happen that can make us happy. You hear a song that reminds you of a great time in your life or you scratch a ticket and win fifty dollars- you become happy. The other 40% of our happiness we get to create.
Instead of looking for happiness to exist in our lives, it’s up to us to create it.
How You Can Create Happiness In Your Life
STOP THE COMPARISON || Acknowledge your strengths and accomplishments. The more you judge and compare yourself to others and your fantasies of how you should be, could be, or would be the more likely your expectations will become unrealistic and unattainable.
THE PAST IS THE PAST || Live in the present. You can’t be happy if you’re carrying the burden of the yesterday on your shoulders. Did you make a mistake? Did you have a terrible experience? Whatever it may be, the past is history and there’s nothing you can do to change it.
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS || Sometimes we get so caught up in seeing what we don’t have, that we miss out on what is right in front of us. To be happy doesn’t mean you don’t desire more, it means you’re thankful for what you have and patient for what’s yet to come.
INSPIRE OTHERS TO FIND HAPPINESS || Happiness doesn’t come through selfishness, but through selflessness. The more happiness you help others find, the more happiness you will find.
THINK ABOUT HOW FAR YOU’VE COME || Focus on your accomplishments rather than on what you didn’t do. In the heat of the moment when you feel like quitting, think about how far you have come and why you started in the first place.
INVEST YOUR TIME IN THE THINGS YOU LOVE || The most important decision you will ever make is what you do with the time that is given to you. Make the most of it.
EXERCISE EMPATHY || Research shows that empathy in the form of love and compassion toward others makes us happy. “While giving to charity brings more happiness than spending money on yourself, our research finds that doing things for people you know makes you happiest,” says Michael Norton, professor at the Harvard Business School and co-author of Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending.
Quotes To Inspire Happiness In Your Life
Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions. -Dalai Lama
When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us. -Helen Keller
Happiness depends upon ourselves. -Aristotle
Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. -Confucius
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. -Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
Learn to let go. That is the key to happiness. -Buddha
Enjoy your own life without comparing it with that of another. -Marquis de Condorcet
I believe compassion to be one of the few things we can practice that will bring immediate and long-term happiness to our lives. -Dalai Lama
Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. -Abraham Lincoln
The key to being happy is knowing you have the power to choose what to accept and what to let go. -Dodinsky
We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have. -Frederick Keonig
Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. -Herman Cain
Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling. -Margaret Lee Runbeck
For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely. -Roy T. Bennett
The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts. -Marcus Aurelius
Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It solely relies on what you think. -Buddha
Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. -Henri J.M. Nouwen
Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it. -Andy Rooney
Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action. -Benjamin Disraeli
Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. -Dalai Lama
I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness–it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude. -Brene Brown
There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. -Thich Nhat Hanh
It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary. -Mandy Hale
I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health. -Voltaire
If you want to be happy, you have to be happy on purpose. When you wake up, you can’t just wait to see what kind of day you’ll have. You have to decide what kind of day you’ll have. -Joel Osteen
I would love to chat.
Are you surprised that, according to research, 40% of your happiness is up to you? What would you add to the list of ways to create happiness?
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