Meanful Joy - Well Being - Happiness - Life Satisfaction
The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want
by Sonja Lyubomirsky

This is the best single book about positive psychology to have on your shelf. “Is it possible to become happier?” and “Why does it matter?” Sonja Lyubomirsky, the author explains why taking action to be happier is not a silly goal, though construction of happiness is a better description than pursuit. She argues that one’s happiness is about 50% determined by genetics (the happiness set point).

Then only about 10% is determined by the things we tend to pursue in the name of happiness: life circumstances such as wealth, possessions, occupation, living conditions, family relationships, church membership. The remaining 40% is determined by habits, behaviors, and thought patterns that we can directly address with intentional action. She argues that it is much more fruitful to address the 40% associated with our own behavior than it is to pursue the 10% associated with life circumstances.


Meanful Joy - Well Being - Happiness - Life Satisfaction

Is Happiness and Life Satisfaction Under Our Control?

In 1996, University of Minnesota researcher David Lykken published a paper looking at the role of genes in determining happiness. Lykken gathered information on 4,000 sets of twins born in Minnesota from 1936 through 1955. After comparing happiness data on identical vs. fraternal twins, he came to the conclusion that about 50% of happiness comes from our genes. For lack of a better name, we call this your Temperament. You may have sunny, easygoing Temperament; dealing well with stress; or feeling low levels of anxiety and depression. So you can thank your ancestors—in part—for how happy you are. Half of human happiness is genetically determined.

Another 10 percent comes from your life circumstances, like how happy you are with where you live. Things like winning the lottery or spraining our ankle both influence our happiness, but typically over a short time period. Humans are very adaptable and so major boosts or dips in our happiness are generally short lived. People quickly adapt to changes, swapping winters for Southwest warmth, but this will not lead to a lasting boost in happiness.

According to longtime happiness researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California-Riverside. What can give us a lasting boost is how we think and behave, she says: About 40 percent of our happiness is under our conscious control.

The large influence of our Temperament made David Lykken proposed the idea that each of us has a happiness set point much like our body weight. No matter what happens in our life, we tend to return in short order to our set range. This is further shown by a study of lottery winners done in 1978 found, for instance, that they did not wind up significantly happier than a control group.

Even people who lose the use of their limbs to a devastating accident tend to bounce back, though perhaps not all the way to their base line. One study found that a week after the accident, the injured were severely angry and anxious, but after eight weeks the base line was approaching the same level as before the accident.

The leading American psychologist Professor Edward Diener from the University of Illinois, says that "happiness was their strongest emotion." "Everyone is surprised by how happy paraplegics can be," The reason is that they are not paraplegic full time. They do other things. They enjoy their meals, their friends. They read the news. It has to do with the allocation of attention.

In his extensive work on adaptation, Edward Diener has found two life events that seem to knock people lastingly below their happiness set point: loss of a spouse and loss of a job. It takes five to eight years for a widow to regain her previous sense of well-being. Similarly, the effects of a job loss linger long after the individual has returned to the work force.

What is Meaningful Joy?

Meaningful Joy involves three items:

1. Indentify what makes you happy
2. Determine your passion
3. Know in what areas you are good

Where these three areas overlap - that is Meaningful Joy

Click to Start Increasing your Happiness

The Just Wait Teen Program

The Just Wait Teen™ program is life enhancing and is not a rehabilitation program, or is not a drug education program. Its objective is to encourge a teen to reach 21 years - substance free.

The Just Wait Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit corporation to prevent drug, alcohol, and tobacco problems among teenagers. The Foundation provides one-year scholarships (two semesters) at a Community College or $1000 award to teens that completes the Just Wait Teen™ Positive Youth Development Program, obtains a GED, or graduates from high school - alcohol, tobacco, and drug free.

We offer free leadership training for any person or group that wants to start this program in their community. Visit this web site for upcoming dates.

What other authors have to say about happiness

How to Jump for Joy for a Healthier Life by Jaci Rae

Everyone is born with happiness chemicals. Over time, these happiness chemicals of Serotonin and Dopamine can become compromised. Scientific data has been gathered and analyzed to discover the science...

Happiness is a Choice That Anyone Can Make by Michael Lee

Happiness is a choice, but is it really? Others see happiness when they lose pounds, land on their dream job, get plastic surgery or win the lottery. It's called a "set point" where people base happiness...

Keys to Happiness by Vivek Ray

Most people honestly believe that they will be happy when they are able to get a job they want, but when they get it, they won't be. They feel that they will be happy once they have a nice house- but they...

Happiness by Way of Visualization by Leon Edward

Understand that happiness is important too. All the material success in the world is meaningless if you work yourself into a knot of misery and stress. One of the best ways to make sure your success doesn't...

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