Wednesday Wellness: Hunt for Happiness Week

The third week of January was christened The Hunt for Happiness Week in 2001, by the Society of Happy People.

Apparently, we can (partly) blame our happiness level on genetics. At birth, we have a “set point” of happiness that is determined by genetics. We may go up and down in our happiness level as we experience joyful or stressful events but will swing back to that natural level.

Researchers Sonja Lyubomirsky, Kennon M. Sheldon, and David Schkade detailed the concept in a paper in 2005. According to their research happiness is determined 50% by genetics, 10% by your circumstances, and 40% is controllable by you.

After genetics, we should look at the 10% that is your external circumstances. External factors such as a nation’s wealth and support of human rights were shown in a study to predict the well-being of its residents. External circumstances could be controllable—you can technically move countries—but they aren’t easily changed. They also help to set your “set point” in your early life before you have a chance to realize these external forces are a problem.

Finally, you have the 40% that is controllable by you. The activities you engage in and your mindset have a big impact on your level of happiness.

An article in Psychology Today proposes we can raise our happiness set point to a higher point. How? By helping others.

According to a study that analyzed data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Survey (the longest-running collection of happiness statistics), the more we focus on altruistic actions, the happier we ultimately become.

What are some things that can bring joy to your life?


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