Are you striving for happiness, but not sure how to get there? Learn the science behind it being happy
Chances are pretty good that your main goal in life is to end up happy. Is it accomplished through good finances, material goods, love, or something else entirely? And what is happiness exactly? Is it purely an emotion, or does being happy transcend just an in-the-moment chemical reaction? It’s time we find out how exactly someones go about achieving a happy state.
In order to help us better understand this need, Happify has created an infographic called The Science of Happiness. It explains the science behind this elusive and fleeting state of mind. Take a look.
Scientists see happiness as a combination of how satisfied you are with your life, and how good you feel on a day-to-day basis. 50 percent of your happiness is genetically determined; 40 percent is controlled by your thoughts, actions, and behaviours; the last 10 percent is determined by circumstance. Contrary to popular belief, we get used to our circumstances over time, so they play less of a role.
Since we can control how fulfilling our lives are, happiness is a skill that can be built with consistent practice.
Happiness is not…
- Feeling hunky-dory all the time.
- Having all the money you could ever want.
- Refusing to see the negative stuff in the world.
- A final destination.
Happy people are healthier
Happy people have better immune systems, lower rates of cardiovascular disease, and heal faster after injuries. Because they have a healthier diet, they also live longer.
Why it isn’t just about you
Happy people have deeper relationships, volunteer or help others more, and are more likely to donate to charities. They also happen to be great problem solvers and are more productive at work.
Ways to increase your happiness over time
- Nurturing relationships.
- Having new experiences.
- Helping others.
- Being grateful for what you have.
Savouring experiences makes us happier, more grateful and more hopeful while reducing levels of stress, guilt, and depression. Thus strengthening the part of the brain related to happiness. However, comparing yourself to others, holding onto resentment, and a lack of close friendships will kill it over time.
Did you know that people who’ve experienced some form of adversity in their life are happier than those who hadn’t? Once we’ve had time and perspective, making sense of life’s challenges helps us to shape our identities, better cope with stress, and become more optimistic about the future.
The search for meaning
To feel connected to a deeper purpose in life is the key to our well-being. People of all ages report being happier when they have meaning in their lives. They’re also more likely to have stable moods and show more social behaviour.
Ways people find meaning:
- With a fulfilling career they show more motivation and engagement on the job.
- 85% of parents say that their children bring them the most happiness and fulfillment in any relationship.
- Through religion or spirituality.
- By pursuing goals that align with their core values.
Make time for friends
On days when people spends 6-7 hours with friends or family, they’re 12 times more likely to feel happy rather than stressed. However, those who work full-time experience the most happiness on days when they spend 8-9 hours with friends or family.
The power of gratitude
In one study of happiness, people who wrote down things they were most grateful for once a week for six weeks felt less depressed for up to 6 months. They also reported better sleep quality and were more likely to engage in healthy behaviour, like exercise.
5 ways to boost your happiness instantly
- Spend 5 minutes to bright up a loved one’s day.
- Email someone and thank them for something they did for you.
- Have a meaningful conversation with a good friend.
- Take 30 seconds to help someone who needs it.
- Savour a memory. Close your eyes and remember the happiest moment of your life.
Top 5 happiest countries around the world
Least happiest countries
If there’s one thing that you should takeaway from the science of happiness is that you have the ability to control how you feel.