The Secret To Happiness
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If You Knew You Could Control 40% Of Your Happiness, Would You?

Inspired by two of my favorite books: The How of Happiness and Eat, Pray, Love

If You Knew You Could Control 40% Of Your Happiness, Would You?
Photo By Kylie Finkbone

That question may seem like a silly one considering everyone is constantly striving to be happy. But it isn't as simple as you may think. It takes time and effort to really achieve optimal happiness. Therefore the secret to happiness is having the drive to actually pursue our desire to become happier. After reading Sonja Lyubomirsky's book The How of Happiness, I learned that 50% of our happiness is our set point or what we are born with, 10% is circumstances or what we face, and finally that last 40% is what we do and how we think.

The four main categories Lyubomirsky touches on coincide with Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love memoir. Gilbert discusses how eat represents enjoying life, pray represents devotion, and love is a balance of the two while building relationships. Both happiness and mental health are concepts close to my heart. The World Health Organization predicts that by the year 2020 depression, affecting 30% of all adults, will be the second-leading cause of mortality in the entire world. With that being said, take the time to make your happiness a priority by finding time to turn these skills into habits.

1. Practicing Gratitude And Positive Thinking

Photo by Courtney Hedger on Unsplash

Every day write down three to five things that you are grateful for. It can be as small as "I am so glad it stayed sunny all day." It may seem silly or unnatural at first, but the more comfortable this becomes the quicker you can graduate onto the next step. This involves showing others gratitude directly. Once you accomplish showing thanks daily, start thinking long term and set goals that align with your strengths. Don't stress when things don't go as planned. When something happens that seems like the end of the world, ask yourself "Will this matter in a year?" Put things into perspective in order to avoid overthinking. Overall, strive to make out the positive side of your situation.

2. Living In The Present

Photo by Kylie Finkbone

Flow is being totally involved in the present moment. Keep your challenges and abilities high so you are never bored. This means being open to new experiencing and learning. While doing all of this remember to savor life's joys. Lyubomirsky's living in the present goes along with Gilbert's concept of eating. While you eat, you are being enriched in a moment and enjoying the little things in life.

3. Taking Care Of Your Body And Your Soul

Photo by Kylie Finkbone

Whether it is meditating or exercise, this time for yourself acts as a time-out from your stressful day. You probably won't be able to clear your mind for more than a second or run a marathon the first time you do these things. Both take practice, but seeing yourself get better boosts your self-esteem. Of course, meditation and exercise are very different experiences with one being low on the energy spectrum and the other being high. But both make you feel good and take your mind off the things that don't. And yes you guessed it, this one is pray in Gilbert's account.

4. Investing In Social Connections

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

That leaves us with love. Love can be for non-romantic relationships as well. It's no secret that relationships are all about give and take. What may not be as obvious is the fact that relationships have an emotional bank account. When you give time and effort to a relationship you are making a deposit; therefore when you take it you are making a withdrawal. Just like an actual bank account, you have to be careful not to withdraw what you don't have in order to keep the account afloat. In order to ensure that you are depositing enough into a relationship, you need to make time, communicate, and be supportive. And don't forget to hug. Seriously though it helps relieve stress and makes you feel closer to someone, so don't be shy!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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