A recipe for happiness
It feels good to be happy. Ask anyone what they want in life and most would say, ‘I just want to be happy.’ Today, happiness is a hot subject of research. Studies suggest that, among other benefits, happy people are healthier, have more friends, and make more money than their sadder peers.
How happy are you?
It is difficult to scientifically measure happiness. In recent years, however, researchers have developed what they consider to be accurate measurements of happiness. One technique involves looking at how often people genuinely smile in their daily lives. In their studies, scientists also ask people to describe how happy they feel. Brain scans also help: in happy people an area called the left frontal cortex tends to ‘light up’, in brain scans.
Every person is born with a general tendency toward a certain level of happiness. For example, some kids are bubbly and cheerful most of the time; some others are generally more quiet and serious. About half of a person’s ‘happiness quotient’ comes from the personality he or she is born with. So, what about the other half of the happiness quotient? About 10 percent of that quotient depends on external circumstances, such as how much money people make or how healthy they are. The remaining 40 percent is entirely up to you.
A happier you
If you want to feel better, there are lots of things you can do to improve your mood. Studies have shown that the happiest people are those who frequently do kind things for both friends and strangers. Other research-backed happiness boosters include keeping a diary of your future dreams, setting and pursuing goals, making friends and family members a big part of your life, and exercising regularly.