In the last 6 months, achieving happiness and the psychology of happiness has become a large focus in my life. Post nervous breakdown, it was clear that changes needed to be made, however what these changes had to be, was not so clear. Here are some facts about happiness that make the changes needed to get happy that little bit clearer.
1. Your genes and family upbringing account for only half of your happiness levels.
2. Only 10 percent of your happiness comes from external circumstances. Genes and upbringing influence about 50% of the variation in our personal happiness, our circumstances (income and environment) affect only about 10 percent. The remaining 40% is accounted for by our outlook and activities, including our relationships, friendships and jobs, our engagement in the community and our involvement in sports and hobbies.
3. Your outlook on life, and what you choose to do with your life accounts for 40 percent of your happiness levels. This includes your friendships, work, and participation in your community.
4. It gets easier as you age. A 2005 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey showed ages 20-24 are sad for 3.4 days per month. Those aged between 65-74 are sad only 2.3 days per month
5. A mere 20 minutes of exercise, three days each week will increase your happiness by 10 to 20 percent after six months.
6. The happier you are, the more antibodies your body generates – up to 50 percent more, in fact.
7. In the United States, the number of people with clinical depression is 3 to 10 times more common than it was for their grandparents at the same age.
8. Happy people generally earn more than unhappy people.
9. Women are unhappiest in their life around the age of 37; men around the age of 42.
10. Dancing increases happiness.
11. Sports facilities and community centres increase a community’s overall happiness.
12. Money can buy happiness. Those who can afford to have their basic material needs taken care of are happier than those who cannot.
13. Money has its limits. After having your basic material needs met, additional money does not have any impact on your levels of happiness.
14. People in relationships are usually happier than people who are single, however….
15. Happier people are more likely to retain relationships.
16. Education and intelligence do not make you more happy than anyone else.
17. Happiness has a fragrance. Clinical experiments on body odour have proved your scent changes between when you are stressed or happy
18. The more you hug your children, the happier they will be as adults.
19. The most powerful way to increase your short-term feelings of happiness is to perform random acts of kindness to others, or to send a letter of gratitude to someone you care about. Five such acts in a week will increase your happiness for up to three months.
20. The most powerful way to increase your long-term feelings of happiness is to change your thoughts rather than your circumstances. Thought patterns are are like stubborn habits, they aren’t going to change straight away, but you can train yourself to change them.
21. Happy people live up to 10 years longer than their depressed peers.