A client of mine was describing his life long struggle with stress and his infrequent bouts with happiness.  He “wished” that happiness was something that could be built like a house.  Turns out…it can be.

Even if you have some genetic predisposition towards being unhappy, this does not mean that it cannot be overcome.  “Growing research demonstrates persuasively that we can overcome our genetic programming.” (Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness)  Plus, research is showing that genetics only impact 50% of our ability to be happy anyway.  40% of our happiness can be built by intentional activity.  10% of life circumstance effects our happiness.  That is, as a counterintuitive example, the wealthiest American who make over $10,000,000 annually are only very slightly happier than their “office staff and blue-collar workers they employ.”

Related Articles:

Myths of Happiness (part 1)

Myth #2 I Must Change My Circumstances To Be Happy

How Much Money Makes You Happy? (from New York Times/ Dunn & Norton)

“Is it crazy to question how much money you need to be happy? The notion that money can’t buy happiness has been around a long time — even before yoga came into vogue. But it turns out there is a measurable connection between income and happiness; not surprisingly, people with a comfortable living standard are happier than people living in poverty.

The catch is that additional income doesn’t buy us any additional happiness on a typical day once we reach that comfortable standard. The magic number that defines this “comfortable standard” varies across individuals and countries, but in the United States, it seems to fall somewhere around $75,000. Using Gallup data collected from almost half a million Americans, researchers at Princeton found that higher household incomes were associated with better moods on a daily basis — but the beneficial effects of money tapered off entirely after the $75,000 mark.”

So, what do builders of happy do…exactly?

  1. Devote large amounts of time to family and friends
  2. Express gratitude for all they have
  3. Offer helping hands to others
  4. Practice optimism
  5. Savor life’s pleasures live Present
  6. Exercise
  7. Committed to lifelong goals and dreams