I just read these interesting facts on Action for Happiness site:
- Our happiness is not set in stone: Although our genes influence about 50% of the variation in our personal happiness, our circumstances (like income and environment) affect only about 10%. As much as 40% is accounted for by our daily activities and the conscious choices we make. So the good news is that our actions really can make a difference.
- Optimism helps us achieve our goals: Research shows that people who are optimistic tend to be happier, healthier and cope better in tough times.
- Positive emotions make us more resilient: Our emotions affect our long-term well-being. Research shows that experiencing positive emotions in a 3-to-1 ratio with negative ones leads to a tipping point beyond which we naturally become more resilient to adversity and better able to achieve things.
- Happiness is contagious: Our happiness influences the people we know and the people they know. Research shows that the happiness of a close contact increases the chance of being happy by 15%. The happiness of a 2nd-degree contact (e.g. friend’s spouse) increases it by 10% and the happiness of a 3rd-degree contact (e.g. friend of a friend of a friend) by 6%. [Related post]
- Together we’re stronger: Having a network of social connections or high levels of social support has been shown to increase our immunity to infection, lower our risk of heart disease and reduce mental decline as we get older. Not having close personal ties has been shown to pose significant risks for our health.
- Happier people live longer: Happiness doesn’t just feel good. A review of hundreds of studies has found compelling evidence that happier people have better overall health and live longer than their less happy peers. Anxiety, depression, pessimism and a lack of enjoyment of daily activities have all been found to be associated with higher rates of disease and shorter life spans. [Related TED video]
- Happiness is a skill you can learn: Western neuroscience has now confirmed what Eastern wisdom has known for a long time: happiness is a skill we can learn. Research shows that happiness, compassion and kindness are the products of skills that can be learned and enhanced through training, thanks to the neuro plasticity of our brains.
- Happiness leads to success: Most people think that if they become successful, then they’ll be happy. But recent discoveries in psychology and neuroscience show that this formula is backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we’re positive, our brains are more motivated, engaged, creative, energetic, resilient, and productive.
I was a bit surprised to read about genes contributing up to 50% of our happiness, and have started reading some more about it, but the rest of the facts seem to support most of my views and other posts about happiness. What’s your take on the above?