If we walk into a bookstore, we will find most books in the self-help aisle focused on increasing our sense of happiness through one strategy or another. Come to think of it, there are a wide variety of books created for the sole purpose of achieving happiness. From financial success and weight loss to finding a soul mate and decorating like a pro, it’s all about becoming happy. How many of us believe if we just lost that last ten pounds we would be happy? What about dreams of becoming independently wealthy or winning the lottery as a route to finally find happiness?
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Although there are many beliefs and expectations about happiness, research suggests some good news (and not so good news) for those in constant pursuit…
1. We Control 50-Percent of Our Happiness
The belief that happiness is a choice may be more myth than fact when we consider the research examining the genetic factors of happiness. Psychologists from the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with researchers from Queensland Institute in Australia found that, on average, 50-percent of happiness comes from our actions and the rest is related to personality traits such as sociability, conscientiousness, and lack of anxiety and worry.
It is important to note that the 50-percent we can control is related to our social, cultural, and environmental conditions. This means if our relationships and environment are negative, we may not be as happy as someone in a more supportive environment. Needless to say, the old adage of “turning that frown upside down” may be easier said than done.