It’s no secret that we’re obsessed with happiness. After all, the “pursuit of happiness” is even enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. But happiness is fleeting. How can we find it and keep it alive?
Psychologists at the University of California have discovered some fascinating things about happiness that could change your life.
Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky is a psychology professor at the Riverside campus who is known among her peers as “the queen of happiness.” She began studying happiness as a grad student and never stopped, devoting her career to the subject.
One of her main discoveries is that we all have a happiness “set point.” When extremely positive or negative events happen -- such as buying a bigger house or losing a job -- they temporarily increase or decrease our happiness, but we eventually drift back to our set point.
The breakthrough in Dr. Lyubomirsky’s research is that you can make yourself happier -- permanently. Lyubomirsky and others have found that our genetic set point is responsible for only about 50 percent of our happiness, life circumstances affect about 10 percent, and a whopping 40 percent is completely up to us. The large portion of your happiness that you control is determined by your habits, attitude, and outlook on life.
“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” –Aristotle
Even when you accomplish something great, that high won’t last. It won’t make you happy on its own; you have to work to make and keep yourself happy.
Your happiness, or lack thereof, is rooted in your habits. Permanently adopting new habits -- especially those that involve intangibles, such as how you see the world -- is hard, but breaking the habits that make you unhappy is much easier.
There are numerous bad habits that tend to make us unhappy. Eradicating these bad habits can move your happiness set point in short order.