How much of our happiness is within our control?
When asked what they want most in life, people across the world put happiness at the top of their list. Happiness is one of the most vital, momentous things we can do for ourselves and others. And yet, how many of us spend any time thinking, talking, planning or taking action on our happiness?
So what do you think makes you happier?
- Losing weight, looking good, looking younger?
- A nice car, big house, fashionable clothes?
- Getting married, having a child?
- Getting a promotion or a salary increase?
Interestingly culture, society, education mostly tell us that these types of things are our access to happiness. In fact, research shows that none of these will make us substantially happier for any length of time. The things we believe will make a huge difference in our lives make only a small difference, while we overlook the things which really will affect our happiness.
Research has established that:
50% of our happiness is genetic
We each have a unique natural set point for our happiness. When good or bad things happen in our lives, the level will either increase or decrease, and after time it will revert to its natural set point.
10% of our happiness is affected by our personal circumstances
A surprisingly low figure influenced by things like your home, car, appearance, job, income, marital status, even health.
40% of our happiness is affected by how we behave and think
The great news is that we have the power to control this 40% of our level of happiness.
What can we do to increase our levels of happiness?
Research has shown that there are there are a number of ways of thinking and behaving which indisputably affect our happiness. The wonderful thing about these is that they are generally free, easy to do, and not necessarily time consuming.
My ten key ways to happier living are:
- Connect with people
- Be kind to others
- Be curious and keep learning
- Take time to regularly appreciate the world around you and your life
- Be part of something bigger – get involved with your community in a way that makes you happy
- Take care of your body
- Set yourself goals to look forward to and achieve
- Find ways to help you bounce back
- Practice using positive language and having a positive attitude
- Give yourself a break – get in control of that inner critic and acknowledge yourself for the good stuff