So why do some people always seem happier than others? You have probably heard the expression “Make lemonade out of lemons.” But according to authors of self-help books, happiness is a matter of choice. You can choose to be happy or you can choose to be unhappy – it’s up to you. But to be fair, there are other factors. About 50 percent of happiness is genetically determined. The next 10 to 20 percent of happiness is the result of life circumstances – age, marital status, income, and education. The remaining 30 to 40 percent is – YOU.
We all have different happiness range sets. Some of us are four to seven (with ten the highest); others seven to ten. When one is “blue,” their blue may not be as blue as another’s. But the idea is that you can always be lifted to the top of your range. The key is knowing how to get there. And get there the right way. Incorrect beliefs include:
- Shopping therapy
- Having children (not always true as marriage becomes less romantic and life becomes more constrained)
- Winning the lottery or increasing your income (life satisfaction does not increase once income rises above $75,000)
However, there are simple and no cost ways to increase happiness:
- Go outside, even on a cloudy day. Light lifts your mood.
- Taking a nature walk can decrease stress (and may even help depression).
- If sitting at a desk, look at a picture of a natural landscape. Looking at green landscapes connected activities with positive memories compared to those who viewed urban photos.
- Hang out with cheerful people. Happiness is a feeling and is contagious.
- Even fleeting connections can boost mood. Talk to someone face to face instead of sending email.