Some people are born with it and others struggle to find it over the course of a lifetime. Whether happiness is bestowed upon us by nature or nurture, there are ways to flip the switch.
The key to happiness remains one of the hottest debates in human developmental psychology, explains Dr. Bruce Wells, author of Happiness Anytime Anywhere.
In response to this debate, scientists have developed what is called the ‘Happiness Set Point’ formula.
Namely - 50 per cent of our happiness is determined by genetic factors, 10 per cent by outside circumstances - such as marriage and our financial status - and the remaining 40 per cent by our habitual thoughts, words, behaviours, and feelings.
The good news? There is plenty you can do to boost your happiness levels on a daily basis.
To celebrate International Day of Happiness this March 20, here are 8 habits to adopt every day to help your quest for happiness:
1. Happy people pull focus
Happy people practice gratitude by focusing on what they have instead of what they don’t have, which helps them live more in the present whilst teaching them compassion.
2. Happy people live their own life
Happy and fulfilled people don’t let the expectations of others rob them of their own dreams and goals. “They make the decision to live the life they want to live,” asserts Dr Wells.
3. Happy people live from the inside, out
From the moment we are born our parents, our schools, our workplaces, and our society are all urging us to fit in and to do the right thing, Dr. Wells observes. “At the same time everywhere we look we are confronted with images of people who are better looking, fitter, richer, smarter, more successful, or more famous than we are.”
"This relentless assault can cause comparisons as a measure of happiness," he explains. “Living from the inside, out encourages us to reconnect with what is truly important to us, to our personal strengths, and to our passion or calling.”
4. Happy people choose control
“We have complete control over our emotions and how we react to things,” assures Dr. Wells. But it’s in the grip of negative mindsets that can challenge this. “Positive attitudes can be learned,” he insists.
5. Happy people single-task
According to Dr Wells, our attention wanders 47 per cent of our waking hours and our concentration span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to just eight seconds in 2015 - no doubt a consequence of an increasingly fast-paced, digitalised life and the demands to multi-task.
The antidote is to mindfully ‘single-task,’ when booting up our computers, walking through the office, eating lunch, or listening to colleagues. “With continued practice people will find it progressively easier to maintain their full attention for longer periods.”
6. Happy people prioritise health
Research shows that the happiest people cherish their health by placing a high value on regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and a balanced diet.
7. Happy people help
“To connect more fully to our community and to enjoy more fulfilling relationships we need to make the time for regular face-to-face contact where we habitually help others, practice spreading good stories, listen without judgement, and demonstrate compassion to our fellow man," says Dr. Wells.
Happy people know that the best way to feel instantly happier is to help someone else. A good way to do this is to regularly donate time to charity organisations and community clubs.
8. Happy people tune in to tune out
Tuning into good news and filling your days with uplifting books, movies, websites and friends is far more healthy in the quest for happiness than tuning into bad news.