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What drives happiness?

Updated: Jan 15, 2021

Do you know that 40% of our happiness comes from our daily decisions, 50% from genes, and 10% from the circumstances around us? Meaning, we can control our happiness!


According to research done by Greater Good Centre, UC Berkeley, and Dr. Sonjia Lyubomirsky, 40% of our happiness is controlled by our thoughts, actions, decisions, and behavior.


You may wonder, "Hmmmm, I am always super happy when I get good grades, or when I can play TV games. How can these "circumstantial happiness" only account for 10% of our happiness? "


Studies done by the Positive Psychology Centre at UPenn shows that we all have a happiness baseline. Happiness happens when unexpected positive things happen, and we will have a surge of happiness. However, we get used to our circumstances over time and that happiness does last too long. For example, you are thrilled when you get an A on your assessment for the first time. However, when you start to get more As, you may no longer be as excited. Also, for the first few months when you play a new video game, you may be thrilled whenever you get a chance to play that game. Nonetheless, as time goes by, your excitement will dwindle too.


Hence, we will never stay on cloud 9 all the time. We all have mood swings and we have a happiness baseline to which we always return to. The same goes for unhappiness or sadness. We will always go back to the baseline.


So when you are feeling down, don't get too despaired! That said feeling will go away and there will always be another sunny day!


If there is a happiness baseline, how can we improve our happiness? We can move the happiness baseline upwards. According to studies from the Positive Psychology Centre and Harvard Health Centre, we can improve our overall happiness, which is also our happiness baseline, by acts of kindness and gratitude. Gratitude helps us feel more positive emotions, and doing acts of kindness is one of the best ways to practice gratitude.

In the past week, we have shared the above findings on our Facebook and Instagram pages. We will discuss how and why kindness can improve our happiness baseline next week!


Stay tuned and stay HAPPY!!


Let's all try to be kind and grateful this week!


Keaton & Kenson


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