Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at Stanford University, published the How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to getting the Life You Want last year. Her breakthrough research on how people develop happiness is interesting. According to her research, forty percent (40%) of our personal happiness is within our personal control. The rest is controlled by genetics, roughly fifty percent (50%) and circumstances which comprise the remaining ten percent (10%).
I suppose there is truth in saying that happiness is a state of mind. If almost half of its chunk is within our personal control, why can’t we just take and make that choice? Genetics, which is half of the story, is beyond our control. This also explains why some people have certain temperaments, difficulties or ease in taking life’s simple joys and pleasures. And only about ten percent is beyond our control.
Luckily, Lyubomirsky suggested several things to do to cultivate happiness in our lives. And the list is quite long. But among the things that I personally think have benefited me include expressing gratitude, practicing acts of kindness and learning to forgive. Gratitude is not as easy as it seems. People seem to have a natural tendency to pick the criticism first, than looking at the better side of things right away. When obstacles and difficulties overwhelm us, it is difficult to appreciate the finer things in life and be thankful for them. But when you have grateful heart, it comes naturally that you let go more easily the negativity you usually notice ahead. Random acts of kindness are like kernels in a cob. It is futile to count each of them but as a whole, they make up one tasty yellow corn. Forgiveness is a whole article I have blabbed about earlier.
So why not pick the happy thought, the cheerful smile or the sunny disposition? After all, almost everything is under our control.