Can you teach yourself to stay happy?
You can learn to be happy - it's best to start today
Inspiration, food for thought and tips for a good and fulfilling life
You don't think that there is actually anything to the well-known saying “everyone is the maker of their own happiness”? Rather, you think that some are just lucky in life. Something like a more meaningful job, more friends who also give something back, a more loving partner, more security through coal in the bank account or health. Or that in view of your childhood experiences you can hardly be carefree, free and completely happy.
If you think that way, it would be a shame. And all of your active efforts to give your luck a boost would be almost in vain. How good that I can assure you that this is not the case ;-). Today I want to explain to you why your happiness is actually in your hands and why it is worth fighting for it. Yes, you can learn to be happy!
Nobody is born unhappy
For many, the seemingly endless search for happiness has become so exhausting and depressing that they no longer feel like it. Maybe you feel the same way (now). If so, I would like to encourage and encourage you to stick with it and I will also explain why: You are always able to turn your very own wheel of fortune.
The following analogy may help you, which I personally find incredibly fitting: happiness is actually like your own heartbeat - if you are too loud or pay too little attention to it, you won't hear it at all. The noise goes down as a matter of course in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The same can happen to you with your luck. No matter how close you actually are in reality.
What does that mean for you and your happiness? You have to learn to notice it! And work on the right levers. I want to convince you that there is a conscious choice to be happy. How do I get there?
I admit, I have a little scientific back-up that I'm only too happy to tell you about.
The really decisive factors for your happiness - that's what science says
The Canadian happiness researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky is one of the best-known representatives of the Positive psychology. In the last few years she has done an incredible amount of research into the factors and behaviors that make you happy in the long term. One of her most widely read works is the book The How of Happiness - or in German: Be happy: why it is in your hands to live happily. I can warmly recommend it to you with a clear conscience (Here it's long).
After she was able to confirm the effectiveness of positive interventions on the feeling of happiness in many empirical studies, Sonja Lyubomirsky wanted to know more precisely why this is so. In order to track down the underlying mechanisms, i.e. to find out which processes actually lead to happiness, she has a broad-based investigation previous studies compiled. So what are the factors that contribute to your personal wellbeing? Sonja Lyubomirsky's results suggest that there are three sources that influence happiness levels to different degrees: A part is attributable to the genes, the smallest part to the external living conditions and an almost as large part as the genes are influenced by the person's active thinking and acting, i.e. their attitude and behavior.
For better illustration I have put the results in a pie chart:
Since there are always misunderstandings here, it is important to me that you understand and interpret the pie chart correctly. Because it shows you NOT the percentages in relation to your personal happiness at. The statement that 50% of your happiness depends on your genes is simply wrong. Rather, the pie chart describes how you can explain differences in happiness between yourself and other people. In plain language: If you have a higher level of happiness than one of your friends, then roughly 50% can be traced back to your different genetic predispositions, 10% to different external circumstances and 40% to the fact that you behave differently and have a different attitude than your girlfriend.
The overestimated influence of external life events
I can tell you with absolute certainty: Promotions, salary increases, a great vacation or a brand new and posh house raise your individual happiness level a lot less than you think. Especially seen in the medium and long term.
After only a very short time you get used to these positively changed circumstances and they are - much faster than you would like - labeled as "normal" by your brain. And you will get back to your initial level of happiness very quickly.
So if you haven't found happiness in the long run, it may be because you looked for it in the wrong places (I have here wrote a whole article about it, which is supposed to save you exactly from such wrong turns on your search for happiness.). Lasting happiness will most certainly not move in with you because of certain external circumstances.
How do your genes affect your happiness?
The 50% who explain the difference in happiness between you and other people through a different genetic makeup can be seen primarily in your personality and in your temper. What is meant is the way you react and act, so to speak your style of behavior.
Scientific research suggests that these can have different benefits for your well-being and satisfaction. If you are more of an extrovert and sociable person, you will find it easier to approach others and seek contact than introverts and shy people. By jumping through the world more openly, you maximize your chances of positive experiences and, in the next step, increased feelings of happiness. Let me explain this to you in more detail: For example, imagine that you are at a party. As a sociable and communicative person, it is more likely that you will seek conversation with other party guests more quickly. Most likely, these conversations will include some really nice conversations that will give you validation and positive feedback. In short: Which will make you go home later with a smile and a positive feeling.
However, if you naturally go through life with the hood pulled up and often find yourself pondering or doubting, your temperament tends to make you unhappy than people who manage to perceive positive things faster and easier and to concentrate on them.
But be careful: you are not at the mercy of your genes
You can definitely influence your genes through the way you behave. Or rather, which of your genes are activated in the first place. In scientific jargon, this mechanism is known as Gene expression. Depending on what you do or not do, the corresponding genes (in the sense of a light switch) are switched on and then affect your further behavior and your attitude. Of course, this can work in both directions, both negatively and, above all, positively. So if you consciously cultivate positive emotions and take care of yourself and your well-being, even the unfavorable genes have a very low chance of playing their supposedly bad influence ;-).
In addition, it is in mother nature that we are not all genetically engineered to be the same (well). But that is by no means a reason why you should either rest on your lucky lead or assume pessimistically that you can’t change anything with less favorable starting conditions. Let me give you another example of this, and it will perhaps become clearer what I am trying to tell you: If you want to lose weight or build muscle, it will be easier or more difficult for you, depending on your genetic makeup. Some have to work and sweat a lot more for their dream figure than others. But because of this, no fitness trainer or nutritionist would recommend that you not even start - on the contrary, they would try to strengthen and motivate you even more. So it is important that you stick with it and go your own way. Even if your baseline is not quite as cheap as that of others - you have a lot in hand 😉
Back to your happiness: what exactly does that mean for you? Even if you can change a little in your genes at first - I can reassure you at this point. Because your sense of happiness is definitely not set in stone and all your efforts to become happier are well worth it.
How it works? By actively deciding for it! That brings us to the still open share, the 40% which are decisive for the fact that people differ in their level of happiness. And that's exactly what you should focus on. Or to put it in the words of psychologist William James:
Say YES to happiness: make the decision to be happy
If you want to live a happy and fulfilling life, there is one person you definitely cannot avoid: You yourself. You are responsible for your attitude, your thoughts and actions and thus also to a large extent for happiness. After all, 40% (!) Of the differences in happiness between different people can be traced back to active behavior.
I don't want to deny that there are external circumstances that can make your decision to be happy really difficult. But, and I am absolutely convinced of this: even in the most difficult and stressful times they exist: Your very own islands of happiness. It is entirely up to you to get up and discover them. Nobody else can go the way for you.
Become an active designer of your life
It is very important to me that you make yourself aware that you are the only one who controls the strings of your life. YOU alone decide in which profession you work or which partner you have by your side. YOU alone decide how and with whom you spend the day. How you feel about yourself. Whether YOU say discouraging things to yourself or encouraging ones. And whether YOU decide to look for the lousy things in your job and everyday life or to focus on the beautiful things, that alone is up to you.
YOU alone decide whether you want to lead a happy life.
Say goodbye to the thought that the world is against you and there is nothing you can do about it. In a happy and self-determined life, the Victim role no place and you would do well to say goodbye to her as soon as possible.
Don't let other people or external circumstances bring your happiness down. Take responsibility for your own life and get active. The only person who can make you happy is yourself. Don't let the following quote apply to you and your life:
Wondering what you can do to be happier?
It's very simple: Visit soulsweet diligently, read my blog articles and maybe take part in one or the other online course :-). Here I give you valuable tips, advice and instructions that will make your dream of a long-term happy and fulfilled life come true.
This means, among other things, showing you how to ...
- Actively change things that you are dissatisfied with
- yours social relationships can maintain despite a busy schedule
- A lot more relaxed can see
- grateful will
- Letting go of things that can make you unhappy
- you regularly Me-timeand be good to yourself
- your negative Get rid of stress
- even in a busy day-to-day life Power and energy reserves mobilize
- learn to love yourself
- with the help of Rituals start the day more productively, relaxed and positively
- a optimistic attitude develop into life
- Following the right, positive goals and making meaning in your life
- manage to get the many things in your everyday life under one roof
- Recognize your strengths and really use them to move forward or solve your problems
... and much more 🙂
I hope I was able to convince you on the one hand that your happiness is not predetermined by your genes or external circumstances, but that you can actively conjure it up through your own thoughts and actions. And motivate and inspire you to do your best for a happy and fulfilling life.
Always remember: there is a way. You will not discover THE ONE exercise or hear the one sentence and everything will suddenly be different. Take it step by step, be careful and understand yourself that some days you will succeed better than others.
Even if one or the other might start the race for luck with a slight lead, you have the decisive advantage: You know how to give your luck wings and don't wait for it to come around the corner by itself!
Write me in a comment how you finally managed to say “Yes, I do” to your inner happiness. And how you feel in this marriage in the short and long term. I am always at your disposal as a couples therapist 😉
PS: Sharing is caring: If you liked and helped the article, share it now with your loved ones and with all people who the knowledge can also help. Thank-you!
Sources and fodder to read on:
Layous, K., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2012). The how, why, what, when, and who of happiness: Mechanisms underlying the success of positive interventions. In J. Gruber & J. Moscowitz (eds.), The light and dark side of positive emotions. New York: Oxford University Press
Lyubomirsky, Sonja (2007): The how of happiness. A new approach to getting the life you want. New York: Penguin Books.
Lyubomirsky, Sonja; Neubauer, Jürgen (2013): Be happy. Why it is in your hands to live happily. Frankfurt, New York: Campus-Verl.
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2 Comments on happiness can be learned - it is best to start today
Wow, thanks for those precious lines. So it is, happiness begins in the head.
HELLO, I AM ULRIKE.
As a qualified psychologist and coach for positive psychology, I will support you with valuable suggestions to go through life more relaxed, relaxed and with more joy! You want to know more about me
Then this way please.
Read yourself smart!
© 2017-2021 ULRIKE BOSSMANN // IMPRINT // DATA PROTECTION // CONTACT
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