The science of happiness is really interesting. Around 50% of our happiness is determined by genetics, 10% is influenced by life circumstances such as wealth and health, and the remaining 40% is determined by intentional activities and habits. (source)
In other words, 60% of our overall happiness is determined by things we can’t necessarily control. That’s a lot.
What about the other 40% of things we CAN control? This means we still do have the power to influence our own happiness through our thoughts, behaviors, and actions.
Happiness is contagious. When we interact with happy people, we are more likely to experience positive emotions ourselves. In fact, research suggests that our happiness can be influenced by the happiness of people up to three degrees removed from us in our social networks. “7 degrees of Kevin Bacon”, anyone?
Furthermore, practicing gratitude has been shown to have a significant impact on our overall sense of well-being. According to a study by UC Davis psychologist Dr. Robert Emmons, people who regularly practice gratitude experience increased feelings of happiness, more positive emotions, and better physical health outcomes.
Overall, these findings suggest that happiness is not just a feeling, but a state of mind that can be cultivated through intentional effort and habits. By focusing on intentional activities such as practicing gratitude, cultivating social connections, and embracing positive thinking, we can increase our overall sense of well-being and satisfaction with life.
The Science of Happiness Basics
According to a popular Harvard course on positive psychology, the science of happiness is a combination of positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment. These factors work together to create a sense of overall well-being and satisfaction with life.
The feeling of happiness has tangible benefits for your health and well-being. Studies have shown that happier people tend to have stronger immune systems, lower rates of heart disease, and better mental health outcomes. Additionally, happier people tend to have stronger relationships, higher levels of productivity, and greater overall life satisfaction.
The Role of Gratitude
Gratitude is a powerful tool for increasing happiness. By focusing on the good things in our lives and expressing gratitude for them, we can cultivate a sense of contentment and well-being. Practicing gratitude has been linked to lower levels of stress, better sleep, and greater overall life satisfaction.
The Importance of Mindfulness & Prayer
Mindfulness and prayer are additional key components behind the science of happiness. By staying present in the moment and practicing self-awareness, we can reduce stress and anxiety and increase our overall sense of well-being. Research has shown that mindfulness can improve mental health outcomes and increase overall life satisfaction. When we talk to God, we receive peace and calm.
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3 NIV)
Have you noticed how all sections mention “improving mental health and overall life satisfaction”? That’s because IT WORKS. It’s science, after all.
The Power of Social Interaction
Social connections are essential for happiness. By cultivating strong relationships with friends, family, and community, we can increase our sense of belonging and connection. Research has shown that strong social connections are linked to better mental health outcomes and greater overall life satisfaction.
The Impact of Positive Thinking
Positive thinking is another important ingredient behind the science of happiness. By focusing on the positive aspects of our lives and reframing negative experiences in a more positive light, we can increase our overall sense of well-being and satisfaction with life. Research has shown that positive thinking can improve mental health outcomes and increase overall life satisfaction.
So how can you cultivate happiness in your own life? By focusing on the basics of happiness, practicing gratitude and mindfulness, cultivating social connections, and embracing positive thinking, you can increase your overall sense of well-being and satisfaction with life. Remember, happiness is not just a feeling; it is a state of mind that can be cultivated through intentional effort.
FIND A CHRISTIAN THERAPIST
Research shows that much of the change people experience during their time in therapy is because they felt heard and understood by their therapist–that their therapist “got them” and that the guidance they gave was relevant and applicable. Because of this, it is critical that you find a therapist whom you can connect with, whom you feel comfortable with, whom you feel “gets you.” Therefore, we encourage you to take a few minutes to read a little about each one of our therapists. If you prefer to look at the counselors nearest to you, please click the office location buttons below. Otherwise, you can meet with any of our Christian Counselors online from the comfort of your own home. If you have questions about any of them, please contact us!