Happiness, Positive Psychology

Take Control of Your Happiness

Your weight and your level of happiness have more in common than you may think. No, I’m not saying that your happiness is linked to your weight! I am saying, though, that you have control over how happy you are, just as you have control over your weight… and probably not in the ways you think you are.

Similar to how researchers view weight, you can think of yourself as having a happiness “set point”. This is the part of your happiness you really can’t control. About 50% of your happiness is determined by your genetics.

That might be a frustrating fact if you’re a “half glass empty” kind of person, but I view this as a hopeful fact. If only 50% of happiness is determined by genetics, then there’s a whole other 50% that you might be able to influence to create more happiness in your life!

So how do we have control over your happiness? Some people think their life circumstances significantly affect their level of happiness.

Maybe if I had a better job, never got divorced, or was more attractive. Many people think acquiring stuff will make them happy. I need more money, a luxury car, a nice home, fancy clothes, and cool gadgets.

But that’s just not true! These external, life circumstances only account for 10% of your happiness. So, sure, you can try to make yourself happier by altering your life circumstances, but that won’t be the most effective way to increase your happiness.

So then how? What’s left? What accounts for a whopping 40% of your happiness?

Your intentional acts and activities.

At first pass, that sounds a little hokey and fluffy. But it’s backed by hard science. You can control how happy you are by the intentional acts and activities that you engage in.

Think of it as exercise for your brain, like how you’d exercise your body to alter your weight. And, just like in exercising your body, exercising your brain works best if you do it consistently over a period of time. Doing one thing once a month (or even once a week) won’t make that big of a change, if at all. It needs to become your new habit.

 

Ready to start exercising your brain? Keep visiting this blog for ideas on intentional acts that will contribute to your happiness and well-being, or contact Dr. Crystal I. Lee for a free 20 minute consultation and see how she can help you capitalize on that 40% you can control.

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