When was the last time you were truly happy? Was it last week when you were sitting on the beach after a gloriously carefree day with friends? You were watching the sunset, a chilled glass of rosé in your hand, smiling to yourself and thinking, I’m happy. Life is good. That sounds like a lovely scenario, but it was a week ago! What about the time in between? Most people strive to be happier in life but really only feel happiness in fleeting moments. A Business Insider story published yesterday discusses the quest for long-term happiness.
The article points out several surprising facts about happiness. The first is that studies show that anywhere from 30% to 80% of our happiness is dictated by genes. Yes, simple genetic differences affect life satisfaction. Another 10% to 60% of our happiness comes from our outlook on life. The final portion of the happiness equation is external factors that happen to us, like getting engaged or receiving a raise at work: “While going after that promotion might seem like it'll make you happy, all that stuff only chips away at the tip of the iceberg,” the story points out.
So how can we maintain more long-term happiness? With these four steps.
- Meditate. Meditation is scientifically proven to lessen feelings of depression and anxiety.
- Do something cultural. Going to a baseball game, joining some sort of club (maybe that bocce ball league you’ve been contemplating?), and getting involved in cultural activities will increase satisfaction in life.
- Go outside. The world is a naturally beautiful place that is yours to enjoy!
- Volunteer or spend money on others. Giving back by donating or volunteering (or even just buying a friend a gift) boosts psychological health.
Interested in learning more about long-term happiness? We recommend Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project.
When was the last time you were happy?