IS HAPPINESS A SCIENCE?
Choices! I have always believed that we are all in charge of the choices that we make. If you feel yourself being happy and can settle in to the life choices you make, then it can turn your life around. Happiness is truly the best makeup a woman can wear.
There actually are studies and research being done by scientists that prove the point of happiness is when one has satisfaction and meaning in their life. Being able to recover from negative emotions quickly while holding a sense of purpose; contrary to popular belief. Happiness is not having a lot of privilege or money. It is not constant pleasure. Turns out that it is much broader than that. It is the ability to connect with others and have meaningful relationships within a community. That is more or less the recipe to happiness.
It is true that more money will make people happier to a certain degree. There is data out there that covers the last hundred years, which includes the era of depression and world wars, as incomes rose there was an increase in people's self-reported happiness. Their happiness was achieved once they went from a place of real threats of poverty to a place of being safe. After that point, more money did not seem to add to happiness. Nobel laureate psychologist and economist Daniel Kahneman showed in his research that money increased happiness until about $75,000 annually. After that, emotional well-being did not seem to increase with income.
It has always been my belief that if I could just try having a big lottery win, then I could join in the study just to see if it did or didn't make me happier. It is not that I am unhappy now, in fact, quite the contrary. So the studies that have gone on seem to be true in my case. Still...I would love to know the feeling.
Do we really need research to tell us that there is a strong relationship between our health and happiness? Of course, we know that being ill causes unhappiness. In fairness though, happiness can enhance health. It is not quite that simple minded. There is a science of happiness. If our health disrupts our daily functioning it can affect our happiness. What does matter is that after the diagnosis if we are able to adapt and compensate by deriving pleasures from other parts of our lives we can still have the "well-being with illness." Another name for this is resilience. This is not to make anyone feel that they are full of gloom and doom if they can't make that transition when illness is seriously disrupting every day life functioning.
Science does demonstrate that we can have an impact on only 12% of the things that determine whether we are happy or not. The happiest people among us understand that if we make the right choices, that small sliver is enough. This is from an article that I found written by Bill Murphy, Jr.
Genetics can have an effect on about half of our happiness. External events can become involved and that is where we own that little sliver of 12% of our own happiness by the choices that we make.
Happy people tend to choose to exercise. Even small amounts. We don't have to be marathon runners or spend hours in the gym. Just a small period of time throughout the day to be moving around. Being outside tends to make people happier. Even for a twenty minute walk around your garden, your office, or your neighborhood. Soak up the vitamin D.
Even better if you can be outside with family or friends. Making time for others is good for the soul. We are contributing to our community by doing so, whether it is our family and friends community or our work community. Balancing work and family is a major part of being on the upper end of happiness.
One last major focus of being happy is to always get enough sleep. Lack of sleep will ruin our lives. It can turn us in to irritable maniacs. And the BIG lie that many people tell themselves is that taking a nap is for "old people." It is not. There not only are whole cultures who believe that a little afternoon nap is good for us, there are famous people who swear by their afternoon naps. A few of them are Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Richard Branson, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Albert Einstein. This is to name only a few.
Happiness is a science that you can choose to be a part of or not. It is not up to those around you. We get to decide.