Make Happiness Your Priority

Fifty percent of happiness is determined by our genes and totally out of our control, according to Sonya Lyubomirsky, a psychologist a the University of California, Riverside. Ten percent is determined by circumstances, somewhat out of our control, and the final forty percent is determined by our thoughts, actions and attitudes, which are completely within our control.

In a recent article appearing in The Week magazine, reprinted from a New York Magazine article about the Yale University “Psychology and the Good Life” course attended by roughly 1,200 students, Lyubomirsky discusses happiness and ways of achieving it.

Basic Needs

Lyubomirsky suggests that people are inclined to believe that circumstances play the largest role in becoming happy, but research shows it is the smallest part in determining happiness. She points out that this is only true if your most basic needs have been met. If you are homeless and living under a freeway bridge, or you’re stuck in an abusive relationship, then your basic needs are not being met and your circumstance looms as a major factor in you unhappiness.

Thoughts and Attitudes

People also underestimate or greatly overlook how changing our thoughts, attitudes and behaviors can not only significantly change our sense of well-being, but also improve our circumstances.

The article goes on to point out that the best ways psychologists have found to determine what makes people happy is to reverse-engineer happiness by studying the habits of happy people. In other words, if a happy person scratches his nose in a certain manner, then you should do the same. Of course we don’t know any real details of the alleged happy person, such as their education, heritage, family income etc.

It is true that money can’t buy happiness, but it does affect the average person’s circumstances. Once basic needs are met, happiness becomes a matter of occupying your time with people and activities that give you joy.

Ask yourself this question every day: Is your life a good one or a bad one? Make happiness the priority in your life.

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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