Research has shown that your talent for happiness is, to a large degree, determined by your genes. Psychology professor David T. Lykken, author of Happiness: Its Nature and Nurture, says that "trying to be happier is like trying to be taller." We each have a "happiness set point," he argues, and move away from it only slightlyWith this.
And yet, psychologists who study happiness -- including Lykken -- believe we can pursue happiness. We can do this by thwarting negative emotions such as pessimism, resentment, and anger. And we can foster positive emotions, such as empathy, serenity, and especially gratitude.It's in your genes, got that? Wait, no, it's up to us to pursue happiness because happiness can be found, seemingly without regard to your genes. Or perhaps this is just professor David T. Lykken making himself happy by saying contradictory things about peoples' ability to be happy. Whatever. One more reason not to trust psychologists.
*Interruption for an aside. Do you know what you never see parked in front of a psychologist's offices? Horses and motorcycles. End interruption*
The WebMD article lists seven steps a person can take in order to be happy, presuming that you are not now happy, and have some desire to become happy. If you are happy being unhappy, none of this applies.
Don't Worry, Choose Happy
Counteract Negative Thoughts and Feelings
Remember, Money Can't Buy Happiness
Engage in Meaningful ActivitiesThat list seems like a good start, but (at least for me) seems rather incomplete. I'd add a few things to the list I learned along the way that contribute to my happiness. Here's a start:
Be truthful in all things
Live simply and below your means, although everyone goes through times of having little or no means
Be not afraid to love others openly and without reservation
Love God, hate Satan
Get out of debt, then stay out of debt
Don't buy things you don't need in order to impress people you don't know
Leave your home life at home and your work life at work
Never drink alcohol at office parties, nor stay longer than 90 minutes
Turn everything off for one hour every evening to rest, read, meditate and reflect.Most of us here at Lem's are in our middle years and have learned a bit about happiness along the way. What have you learned that you can add to the list?