Let’s touch on the science behind happiness. Many may be surprised that there even is such research on the topic of happiness.[Tweet “You won’t be happier if you think you need”]
A bigger house
A smaller house
A different job
10 pounds lighter
Essentially, there are 3 components to every human’s happiness:
> 50% of happiness is derived from our DNA–it’s genetic
> 40% of happiness comes from our thoughts and actions
> 10% of happiness is related to our circumstances
Are those stats as much of a surprise to you as they were to me?? Would you have otherwise thought those figures would differ? That your circumstances would much more so impact your happiness–How much money you have? Your job? Your family life? etc. Apparently not…So, instead of concentrating on changing one or more of those circumstances, believing that it will make you oh so much more content, think about working on……………………………………
That 40%! Yes, when it comes to sustained happiness, your best bet is to try to focus on your thoughts and actions. OK, I’ll admit it’s not necessarily easy. However, if you’re self-motivated and practice daily (as I do, saying ‘YES’ to every day,’ ‘I can do this!’ ‘I’m grateful for ___,’ etc.), you’ll find it becomes easier and, eventually, a habit. Remind yourself that that 40% overpowers what your genetics and circumstances yield in terms of your true happiness in life.
Here’s a little bit about where the ‘set point’ comes into play. Many researchers use this Oxford Happiness Survey questionnaire to establish a person’s set-point–kind of the baseline or where you are now in terms of resilience and happiness. Your set-point is related to how you bounce back from adverse events, circumstances, and thoughts. It’s our goal to raise our set points, even if just a little bit.
Believe it or not, some studies have shown that subjects’ levels of happiness make that positive shift by practicing appreciation and acknowledging gratitude for only 21 days.
Were you aware of these statistics?
> 15% of women will become depressed in their lifetimes
> 20% of women will become clinically depressed
> ½ of all women report feeling mildly depressed at some point in their lives.
I’ll share with you that I, myself, have experienced extreme sadness and depression. But ever since I began tapping into resources, practicing appreciation, and choosing to be more grateful and aware every day, I don’t experience feelings of depression anymore. Moral of the story: You can make the effort to apply these strategies to help yourself and others.
There you have it: Those remarkable 50%/40%/10% statistics gleaned from scientific research on happiness. When we concentrate on that key 40%, we can purposefully change our thoughts and behaviors to increase and strengthen our happiness.
3 Activities to Support Your Thoughts and Actions Towards Increased Happiness
Practicing Acts of Kindness:
For over a year now I have an alarm on my phone set to go off around 9:30am every day. It says “Think of 3 people and reach out”. So I reach out and ask them if they need anything. Money, coffee, an ear to vent, a shoulder to cry one, ANYTHING. Or I send them a card, an email, or I’ll call and ask how they are doing. These acts of kindness make others feel good and in return create happiness within you. Think about smiling more at strangers, opening and holding the doors for others, make is a goal to put a smile on somebody else’s face.
There are tons of studies on why it’s important to be active multiple times a week. My latest resource was listening to a podcast and downloading the book. “Sleep Smarter” by Shawn Stevenson. He shares such GREAT research, studies, and successes on the importance of sleep and activity. He mentions that the prime time to best serve our bodies is 6-8am in the morning. He notes that we should be consistently active for at least 20 minutes between the hours of 6-8am. That could be cleaning, working out, walking, doing the laundry… just move. Try it!
Practicing Deep Breaths:
Sounds so simple, huh? However, many of us go through our day with not an ounce of awareness on our breath, our breathing. Our breath is our barometer for our mental and physical wellbeing. Start by closing your eyes and taking in some super deep, long inhales and then long exhales 3-5 times. Practice this whenever you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, frustrated, or during any moment in which you feel out of sorts or out of balance. Frankly, I run my business from home while raising 2.5 year old twins…I’m practicing deep breathing ALL DAY LONG, LOL.
If you’re interested in finding additional information, I suggest you get your hands on my go-to book titled “The How of Happiness” by Sonja Lyubomirsky. It’s my favorite reference–my bible on this topic.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
I’ve accepted that sometimes we have bad days and have moments of doubts and sadness. It’s okay. I’m human.
2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?
I appreciate my amazing body for being strong and flexible. I appreciate my mind for wanting to be a student for life. I love learning and appreciate that more than ever.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?
Being an Amazon Bestseller for my quote book, Get All A’s in the Game of Life: Entrepreneur Edition. We hit bestseller and listed for #1 Gift Ideas and #1 New Releases for over a week!
4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth–we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are–your Identity?
Ugh, so many, LOL. Sometimes I’m too optimistic it can be annoying to others.
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my courage and strength in motherhood, I love how I have the opportunity to spend the days with my twins and I’m extremely grateful for it.