I have been slightly obsessed lately with Sonja Lyubomirsky’s work on wellbeing, specifically on happiness.
The piece that is resonating the most with me is the notion that when we divide up our pie of happiness, 50% is inherited from our parents and cannot be manipulated (so deal with it), 10% is attributable to life’s circumstances, and 40% is up to us.
That’s right – you get to decide how you spend your 40% - being happy or not… The 50% that you get from genetics – there’s not much you can do about that. And you can’t focus too much on the 10% that comes from life’s circumstances, because any boost or setback in happiness due to circumstances will be fleeting, and you will return to your previous set points after a while.
Furthermore, Sonja’s lab has researched and found evidence that when deciding on how to boost our happiness, we should pick the small stuff.
Because we live in the supersize-me nation and evolved to constantly be looking out for our future livelihood we tend to believe that a new car or more money or a new job are the avenues to happiness.
Research proves the opposite. Happiness exists in the small stuff.
Give someone (or yourself) a bouquet of flowers
Walk around the block and breathe in the fresh air
Notice the smile of a person you love
Pat yourself on the back for something that is going well in your life
Buy a coffee for the person behind you at the coffee shop
Hear the giggles in a crowd
Meditate - Close your eyes and let your mind clear out for 5 minutes
Write a thank you note for something…anything
Turn on your favorite song and sing LOUD
Today, I chose to take myself to a yoga class and I don’t regret it a single bit!
What will you do with your 40%?