You want to be happy.
So do I. And there's good reason for it.
A growing body of research tells us happiness isn't just a lovely feeling -- it's also quite good for you. It's been linked to a load of life benefits including a higher income, a stronger immune system, and even a boost in creativity.
Psychologists Ed Diener of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Shigehiro Oishi of the University of Virginia conducted a study of more than 10,000 participants from 48 countries, and discovered that people all over the world rated happiness as more important than other highly desirable personal outcomes like meaning in life, becoming rich, and getting into heaven.
I guess the Founding Fathers knew what they were doing when they made the pursuit of happiness an inalienable right. Happy people make for a stronger, healthier, more productive society. True happiness isn't just that burst of joy that comes with getting a promotion, getting engaged, or winning the lottery.
Sustained happiness involves contentment and peace of mind, the feelings you want in between those big bursts. We all have a happiness set point, a baseline degree of a happiness determined by genetics. But beyond that set point, a great deal of our happiness is in our control, according to happiness researcher and author Sonja Lyubomirsky.
In fact, 40% of our happiness is determined by our choices and habits. However, there are many choices and habits that diminish our feelings of happiness and make it more difficult to move past our set point on the happiness scale. Want to avoid those behaviors?