By Anju Miura
You may think if you were taller, richer, smarter or more popular, you’d finally be happy. But do you really know what determines your happiness?
The human happiness can be influenced by genetic, environmental and behavioral factors, according to professor and author of “The How of Happiness,” Sonja Lyubomirsky.
Circumstantial factors account for only 10 percent of happiness. They make you feel happy at the moment, but not in the long term. For instance, getting a good grade or new internship, becoming rich or being healthy brings you temporary happiness. But, you will eventually dismiss the feeling from your mind by becoming accommodated to the situation.
Although it’s difficult to change those factors throughout your lifetime, your attitude contributes to 40 percent of your happiness. So, a great deal of your happiness depends on whether you strive to live happily.
Optimism should be the norm
When your friend doesn’t answer your greeting on the street, you may jump to the conclusion that she hates you. But, maybe she just couldn’t hear you or was lost in thoughts. Your crush still doesn’t reply to you? It doesn’t have to mean he doesn’t like you. He may just be too busy to check his phone. Attitude and perspective can determine how to you feel about day-to-day interactions, there’s always more to the story.
Psychologist Ed Diener, also known as “Dr. Happiness,” established the theory that happiness is the relationship between what you have and what you want. So, you are less likely to feel happy if you overreach yourself. The person who wants a $20,000 car is more likely to be happy than the person who want a fifty $50 million mansion if they win the lottery.
Happiness comes from being kind to your family, friends and of course, strangers. Aesop once said “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Help someone who seems to be in trouble. Through being appreciated by a person you don’t know, you will be satisfied with your own actions and thus feel happy.
Appreciate what you have
Before you go to bed, try to remember what you felt good about today and take the time to appreciate it. You can sleep with satisfaction and wake up happily every morning. One of the developers of positive psychology, Martin Seligman suggests to write down three things that you like about a day to become a positive thinker.
You are you, others are others
Sometimes, comparing yourself to others may make you feel miserable. But if you think logically, you will realize it doesn’t make sense to compare what others have and you don’t have. Be confident in yourself. We all have strengths and weaknesses. You are not the only one with shortcomings.