The Science of Happiness: 3 Ways To Bring Joy To Your Life

The Science of Happiness: 3 Ways To Bring Joy To Your Life

Happiness can be a loaded word. Sure, sometimes we are happy and other times we are sad, bored, anxious, etc. Yet, if you ask most people they would probably choose to be happier if they could.

It turns out that it may not be the promise of extra money or that coveted job that brings the happiness you desire. Various studies have researched happiness and its triggers which may help you achieve this often elusive emotion.

It has been reported through a combined article by Time magazine and INC. (8/11/14) that,

  • 10% of happiness is determined by your circumstance
  • 40% of your happiness is controlled by your thoughts, behaviors and actions.
  • 50% of happiness is genetic

Happiness is not:

  • Feeling happy all the time
  • Having as much money as possible
  • Refusing to see negative things
  • Getting to an achieved goal

The report goes on to show that those who are organically able to achieve happiness are often healthier, heal faster, have a better diet and live longer.

These 3 scientific happiness cures below are the result of studies that looked at a full spectrum of lifestyles and the recipe each followed to attain some semblance of happiness.

Take a gander and you just may find your happiness switch that needs to finally be turned on.

Life Experience: Get Out There

If you’re going to spend your money, spend it on a life experience. San Francisco State University found that,

“Experiential purchases, such as a meal out or theatre tickets, result in increased well-being because they satisfy higher order needs, specifically the need for social connectedness and vitality — a feeling of being alive.”

Ryan Howell, assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University comments on the study,

“These findings support an extension of basic need theory, where purchases that increase psychological need satisfaction will produce the greatest well-being.”

Don’t Fake Smile

That’s right, a real smile can make you feel happy. Michigan State University studied the effects of a true smile, one derived from positive thought. Researchers studied the effects of surface smiling and deep smiling.

Surface smiling is basically a fake smile often manifested in the workplace to act as if all is well even though it may not feel so. It was found that fake smiling can actually do a person harm, especially women. Women are almost always socially expected to smile but when this was studied researchers reported,

“Women were harmed more by surface acting, meaning their mood worsened even more than the men and they withdrew more from work.”

Lead author, Brent Scott continues,

“There have been some suggestions that if you do this over a long period that you start to feel inauthentic. Yes, you’re trying to cultivate positive emotions, but at the end of the day you may not feel like yourself anymore.”

To feed happiness is to deep smile. Deep smiling comes from recollecting pleasant memories or by looking at your current situation in a more favorable way. Positive thinking? Maybe. But it is also a shift in the lens you choose to see the world through. So go ahead, close your eyes and deep smile as much as possible.

Savor It: The Science of Gratitude

In the combined Time magazine and INC. article it was reported that learning how to savor your life is a top priority. This requires something that many of us may have a difficult time doing which is slowing down. By taking steps to consciously pay attention to your senses you will be able to see, smell, taste, hear and touch important things around you that you may be missing.

Pay attention to small details such as a child’s awe, an elderly person’s gratitude, the way the sun bounces off the ocean and signs of good heartedness all around you. Share it with someone else through describing all the amazing little things you begin to discover and dwell on these same things as much as you can.

Researchers at The University of Pennsylvania call this the Science of Gratitude and by savoring all there is around you it is possible that silently saying “thank you” to yourself or even others fuels perpetual happiness.

These 3 scientific happiness cures are a small example of so many happiness opportunities. Overall, living a life of compassion and kindness is all you need to do to open the floodgates of happiness.

According to the Dali Lama,

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”