The How of Happiness

July 9, 2011


Well this book on happiness is the first one I am reviewing, but it won’t be the last!  I just can’t resist buying and reading any book on how to be happy.  It’s not that I am always unhappy, but I have had my fair share of stress, heartbreak, tough situations, and depression.  I like this book because it is based on sciencific research.

Sonja Lyubomirsky says that it is proven that we are genetically wired to have a certain level of happiness.  So 50% of our happiness level is genetic.  (And personally I have never been one of those bubbly happy people, or I wouldn’t be reading books on happiness!) So we have a certain set point of happiness that we were born with and it is not going to change.  If you are an Eeyore type of person, you are not going to read a book and become Tigger! 

She says 10% of our happiness level is based on our life circumstances.  Now most of us don’t really believe that, but one of the first things Sonja does is clear up our misconceptions about where to find happiness. Just like everyone else, she says that  a great deal of money only buys temporary happiness.  (I guess that is true, but I sure would like to try it for myself.)  But she says that science shows that the richest Americans (earning over $10 million a year!) are only a slight bit happier than their low income employees.  So changing our circumstances doesn’t change more than 10% of our happiness or as they say in recovery circles, “Wherever I go, there I am.”  (I do think that my divorce eventually increased my happiness at least 25% though.)

And what is Happiness?  Sonja defines it as ” …the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile”.  Yes, that is what I want.  I am an INFJ (Myers-Briggs) and that means I have to have meaning with my happiness.

So we are left with 40% of our happiness level that we can increase….but how?

This book says we do that by learning and doing intentional happiness strategies.  And Sonja has a cool “Person-Activity Fit Quiz” to help you figure out which happiness strategies fit for you.  You will come up with 4 Happiness Activities.  The rest of the book describes how to do the  9 happiness activities.  I really like self help books that have more pages on the solution than the problem and/or theory and this one does.

So I will take the quiz and let you know what I score.  I doubt that it will tell me to eat more seeds or clean my cage more often, but I bet it tells me to run on my wheel more!!


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: