Happiness Is A Skill

That was said by a buddhist monk considered the happiest man in the world after studies were conducted on his brain that showed the highest level ever seen in the area of positive emotions.

According to science, happiness is achieved by three different means:

50% is genetic

10% is circumstantial

40% is a skill that we need to cultivate

So how can we practise this skill and cultivate happiness?

  • Nurturing social connections
  • Expressing gratitude
  • Positive thinking
  • Forgiveness
  • Acts of kindness
  • Living in the present
  • Working to achieve meaningful goals
  • Physical activities
  • Mind training or meditation
  • Belief in a higher purpose

  • There are two things that don’t bring happiness according to the studies: money and physical beauty. However, our security needs (food, shelter, safety) need to met. After that, money doesn’t really add to happiness.
    Another important point is that human being adapt to changes. Therefore, changes such as getting married, a better job, beautiful housing and winning the lottery only bring temporary happiness. It is proved that after less than one year, lottery winners go back to their earlier levels of happiness. It also works the other way around. When something bad happens, it doesn’t take long for the happiness levels to return to normal.

     What else has science learned about happiness or SWB (subjective well-being)?

  • Temperament is an important factor but some conditions such as being unemployed or living in a poor nation have a long lasting effect.
  • Some cultures have higher levels of happiness than others because happiness is valued more.
  • People in unstable or very poor nations have lower levels of happiness.
  • No one is happy all the time. Even the happiest people get unhappy sometimes.
  • Happiness is can be correlated with desirable consequences such as sociability, creativity, better marriages, better work performance, stronger physical immunity and resilience.
  • Happiness doesn’t come from pleasure but from working towards goals that are consistent with our values.

  • All in all, there are many things that are still uncertain about happiness. But one thing is certain: there’s not only one way to achieve it and a variety of factors play a part in it.

    Source: http://media.noetic.org/uploads/files/S22_SIMIC_InSearchofHappiness_l-r.pdf


    6 thoughts on “Happiness Is A Skill

    1. If 10% is circumstancial and 40% is a skill that we need to practice, than people have an average chance of being happy (50%). It also means that we can do a lot to help us feel happy, more than we think.

      I really agree with all the ways of practicing the skills. I have learned lately that it is really important to cultivate social connections, even if we don’t consider it happiness, just well-being. Even this consequence is already great.

      It is very interesting to read that human beings adapt themselves to change (I guess that’s a good survival skill :), and I think most people have felt this once in their lives, especially when we buy something new, for example.

      When it comes to the other discoveries in the field of SWB, the last one is very true in my life. Personally, I’ve learned that it is one of the main sources of unhappiness for me. On the other hand, the ones on poor nations are questionable. Not long ago, I read an article about recent research on happiness which revealed that the Northeast is the happiest and poorest area in Brazil. Bhurma, another underdeveloped country, also has reported high rates of happiness. They have even developed a new way of measuring the GDP, which takes happiness into account. Rich countries like the Nordic ones usually report high levels of happiness, but when one looks at what they consider happiness, it becomes clear that they might mean contentment. Isn’t it all crazy? Different ways of seeing happiness, what it means, what it is… It is more or less what you wrote in the second item of the list.


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