The pursuit of happiness is a driving force in many people’s lives. Of course, everyone wants to be happy! The never-ending quest for happiness seeks to answer the questions, what will make me happy? How will I finally become happy? And how do I stay happy?
It turns out happiness is a lot easier to find than most people think- and the best part is, a huge portion of it comes down to your choices.
Psychologists Sonja Lyubomirsky, Kennon Sheldon, and David Schkade created a model that accurately represents happiness, coming from genetic predispositions, circumstances, and intentional activities (internal state of mind). These factors were chosen because they directly affect the ability to increase or decrease happiness.
According to the research, a person’s genetic predispositions accounts for 50% of happiness. The set point includes personality traits that are connected to biology, such as temperament.
Circumstances account for only 10% of happiness. This section includes a person’s residential location, gender, ethnicity, age, major positive and negative life events including traumas, as well as marital status, income, occupation, and religious affiliation.
Intentional activity, or internal state of mind, which accounts for a whole 40% of happiness, is the most promising category and comes entirely from your CHOICES. This category covers every distinct action that a person chooses to engage in. It can include exercising, writing, practicing kindness, or anything else that brings personal happiness.
Wow. So basically science is telling us that yeah, you really are in charge of a HUGE portion of your happiness, and sorry, but being single or stuck in a less than stimulating job is not really an excuse for being unhappy. More importantly, science is giving us evidence that supports the criticized “hippy mentality” that happiness is a choice. Now that you know happiness really IS a choice, you can start being happy by first deciding to BE happy.
We encourage this positive thinking by teaching you to “choose your mood.” It is not just a naive idea that has no practicality. It is a very valid and powerful mindfulness method that allows you create your own happiness and make your life beautiful. If you can choose your mood, you can choose your happiness, and in turn choose to create a positive life, naturally.
So why choose to be happy? How exactly is it going to make my life beautiful and amazing? Happiness just feels good, duh… But there is also evidence showing that happy people lead healthier and more fulfilling lives. The analysis conducted by Lyumbomirsky et al. (2005) revealed that happy people gain greater social rewards, such as higher likelihoods of marriage and more friendships. Increased productivity, higher income, and energy were also found to be byproducts of happiness. Further evidence showed that happier people are more likely to have better self-control and coping abilities, stronger immune systems, and even live longer lives.
Sweet… there are no negative side affects to increasing your happiness!
Go ahead and try it out with this activity→
Intentional Happiness Activity:
Set yourself a goal for each day to engage in an activity that brings you joy, and commit to doing it for at least 30 minutes. It doesn’t matter what activity you choose as long as it promotes your well being! (sorry to be a buzzkill, but we aren’t encouraging you to get loosey-goosey with your favorite bottle of wine...although we know it gets you brimming with blissful feelings by the third glass). We’re talking about a fun, healthy, maybe creative little something that gets you glowing just the same! It might be fishing, running, drawing, blogging, taking photographs, collecting items, or reading. Whatever it is, own it.
Then write this down:
I, (your name) will commit to (chosen happiness activity), for at least 30 minutes every single day.
And keep that in protected place where you will SEE it every day.
Make it as routine and necessary as brushing your teeth.
And watch your life start to change. #LifetherapyMoment
Happiness starts and ends with you. So choose your thoughts, choose your mood, choose your actions... and recreate your life
XX - Lifetherapy