How happy are you? If you think about a scale of zero to ten, with zero being, "Not at all," and ten being, "Extremely," where would you rank yourself on that happiness scale? What are some things that would make you happy? What would you be doing in your life if you were happy? Or, what would you be doing in your life if you were happier ?
Here are some myths about happiness:
* I should be able to be happy all the time.
* If I seek pleasure and avoid pain, I will be happy.
* If I am rich, smart, attractive, popular, or talented enough, I will be happy.
* Happiness is something that just happens. It's just what life gives me or doesn't give me.
* If _____________ would happen, I could be happy.
* Happiness is a destination.
Which ones do you believe?
Happiness is something everyone wants to have. If you ask parents, "What do you want for your kids?," many will say, "I just want them to be happy." Happiness is something that is highly sought after but often elusive. Many people long to find it but do not realize that they can, literally, influence the degree of happiness they experience.
No, it isn't a new car or a big house. It isn't even a lot of money in the bank, although those things can contribute to brief pleasure. Rarely does that pleasure extend into something that lasts, something that permeates your life.
Some interesting research was done by Dr. David Lykken at the University of Minnesota on 1500 pairs of twins, that found that 50% of our ability to experience happiness is genetically determined, and 50% is due to circumstances. Later research further defined that, stating that 50% of your ability to experience happiness is determined by your genes, 10% is determined by circumstances in your life, but 40% is affected by intentional activity that is under your control. And that is good news, because it means that you have the power within yourself to change the way you feel and the way you approach life! That means that you can take that 40% and do something with it that raises the level of happiness in your life. You get to make choices about what you do with that 40%, and who knows...maybe you could feel considerably better than you currently feel.
Recent research on the brain indicates that we can continue to learn and grow and develop for many years. The brain has this amazing capacity to develop new neurological pathways even into old age. It is possible to develop new neural pathways that are associated with feeling good, feeling happy.
Try this experiment: Take about a half hour and list on paper what it is you recall loving: sights, sounds, smells, tastes, body sensations. Think back through your life about anything you have loved, and write it down. Notice how you feel when you have completed that. That is just one illustration of the power you have to influence how you feel emotionally and physically. There are many other ways of creating greater happiness in your life.