Have you ever wondered,
What makes one person happy and another person miserable?
While research has discovered that genetics DOES play a part in our happiness,
in our natural disposition,
our set point, as they call it...
So much of our happiness is completely within our control.
Most people believe that circumstances determine their happiness...
things outside of themselves like their job,
whether or not their children listen to them,
the amount of money in their bank account...
but research shows that circumstances actually have very little to do with lasting happiness.
Let me repeat that---
Our circumstances have very little to do with our lasting happiness.
So what does make us happy?
Sonja Lyubomirsky is a happiness researcher (coolest job award) and author of The How of Happiness.
According to her, the three factors within our control that seem to have the greatest influence on increasing our overall happiness are:
1. Our ability to view our life circumstances in a positive light.
Is the glass half empty for you, or half full?
Can you look at a seemingly negative circumstance and see how it might benefit you?
Maybe it's an unexpected health diagnosis.
Or a sudden financial burden.
Maybe it's the loss of a job.
Cancer can be a blessing.
When one door closes with the loss of a job,
or a financial setback,
another will open.
Are you watching out for those blessings?
The universe has your back, sister.
Always remember that and you'll find evidence for it every day.
2. Our ability to experience gratitude.
I've started writing down four things I'm grateful for each morning.
The key for me is that I try to make them really specific.
Instead of writing,
"I'm grateful for my family",
instead I write something like:
"I'm grateful for the great conversation I had with my mom yesterday afternoon."
Or "I'm grateful for the way that my four-year-old held my hand yesterday on our walk."
Gratitude forces us to live in the moment.
Plus it's an insta-cure for the green-eyed monster (aka envy).
3. Our choice to be kind and generous.
Generosity is one of my favorite emotions.
It takes us out of our own lives and our own problems and let's us focus on others instead.
Sometimes being generous means we give of our time,
And sometimes being generous means we give people the benefit of the doubt.
By withholding judgement or criticism.
It is fun to be generous.
and it's fun to be kind.
So be kind.
As Jeffrey R. Holland has said,
"It is a happy way to live."
Inspiration for this post found in The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World