40% control of our happiness

"People are just as happy as they make
 their minds up to be."
- Abe Lincoln
As I sat at my desk this morning and paid bills, i remembered an article I read once about the correlation between happiness and contentment. 
Did you know that according to a recent research study of 60,000 adults that was published in 2009, genes are responsible for only a portion of a person's sense of well being? 
50% of our happiness is biologically driven.  Some people are just born prone to a happy disposition.   My hubby is this way.  Remember in a past post how he amazed DRs. when he was super sick because he was the ONLY IIH patient they had that wasn't suffering from depression and needing a rx for anti depressants? 
(Me, not so much.  I like to think of myself as the REALIST of our family, the yin to his yang- however, I digress...)
Another 10% of our happiness is connected specifically to life circumstances.
  That leaves 40% of our happiness quotient unaccounted for. 
40% of our happiness, we have control of. 

Some might think that this 40% is greatly determined by income.  But, studies show: not necessarily.  Hope College in Michigan found that there is "little correlation between cash and contentment (for most Americans there is not much emotional benefit to earning more that $75,000.00 a year)". 
I look at that statistic and think maybe once our basic needs are met, having MORE doesn't really bring our quotient up.  
(And now that I think about it, I know alot of wealthy. but unhappy, people.) 
The trick to upping your happy quotient (HQ) is to figure out what things make you feel happy and do them more often. 
Here are mine:
reading a good book
listening to music
being with my family
feeling in control of my surroundings (clean house, organized schedule, living on a budget)
spending time with my best girlfriends
(who, by coincidence are like Brent and were born happy)
date night with Brent
making people feel special
(remembering a birthday or serving a friend)
being productive
and exercising.
(It NEVER, EVER makes me happy WHILE i am exercising but overall it helps my outlook be positive and it is a great source of stress release.)
And although I agree that having more money doesn't make me happier, I LOVE the feeling of being able to pay my bills and then have a little extra for an emergency.  There have been times in our married life when we didn't.  It was super stressful.  I think you appreciate having enough so much more after you haven't.  (And I can also tell you from past experience that -WITHOUT A DOUBT-being in debt does not lend itself to happiness.  It most defintely lends itself to UNhappiness and happens to be one of the top reasons why people in the US commit suicide.  Sad.)
My prayer this Thanksgiving is that we will all reflect on what we have - not what we DON'T have; that we can pinpoint those things in our lives that bring us each, individually, more moments of happiness and then do them more.  Life was meant to be enjoyed.


Stephanie Lee said…
Love it! It's good to know what makes you happy. I don't think some people do.
Amanda said…
Loved learning the exact percentage breakdown on this. Really eye opening for me! Thanks Shahna:)

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