According to research by Sonja Lyubomirsky, in her book The How of Happiness, 40% of happiness is within our control, 50% is determined by “set points” (genetics) and 10% by circumstances. So, if 40% is within our control what steps can we take to create our own happy.
5 Steps to Create Your Own Happy
1. Change your story- If 40% of what bring us happiness is within our control, then you have the power to change your story. Look at your current situation and determine what story you are telling yourself. What thoughts would you need to change to bring happiness into your life? Every day you make choices about your personal life, your career and relationships. These choices are within your control. You choose whether you are going to wake up and exercise or take time for meditation and prayer. You choose if you are going to try to adopt a positive attitude or pay it forward. You choose if you are going to continue to define yourself based on past experiences. You can cultivate happiness by changing your story and adopting the attitudes and choices that bring you joy.
2. Enjoy the journey- It has been shown that people who choose to live in the present and not dwell in the past lead happier lives. Enjoying the journey means embracing your successes and accomplishments and those of your loved ones. It means remaining optimistic. It also means taking one day at a time, instead of stressing over the future and what you cannot possibly foresee or have control over.
3. Me Time- Taking time for yourself can also bring happiness. Self-care is important as it reduces stress, allows you to tap into your own feelings, wants and desires and allows you to be more satisfied with your life. Self-care is living a healthy lifestyle through healthy eating and exercise. It’s taking time to enjoy your favorite hobby or activity. It’s also taking time off from work and caring for others, to just have time for yourself.
4. Relationships- Having positive, meaningful relationships can bring happiness. Relationships provide support and a sense of community. Happiness can be achieved when you spend time with loved ones. The closeness of loved ones through physical contact like hugging can be a positive emotion booster. Happiness can also be achieved by helping others through volunteering and other acts of giving back in our communities. People who have positive relationships are less likely to be stressed and more likely to lead joy filled lives.
5. Gratitude- Practicing gratitude is another step you can take to increase happiness. It’s a great way to continuously remind you of all that you should be thankful for. Practicing gratitude lowers stress, improves sleep, and boosts your mood. You can journal with pen and paper or use an app. Consistent daily journaling of 3-5 things that you are grateful for, can change your story and create happiness.
Now that you have discovered 5 steps to create your own happy, what action will you take to create a life of meaning and joy? To help you take the first step, I have created a worksheet to getstarted.
Download the worksheet here. Enjoy the journey.