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The Science of Happiness
 
Happiness is not a goal, it’s a process
 
September 8, 2008
 
Recent scientific research on happiness, and there has been quite a bit, has proved that happiness is not a goal, it's a process. Although our tendency to be happy is partly genetic, it's also partly within our control. Perhaps more surprising, happiness brings success, not the other way around. Though many people think happiness is elusive, scientists have actually pinned it down and know how one may attain it.
 
True or false:
I would be happier if I made more money, found the perfect mate, lost 10 pounds or moved to a new house.
You can't change how happy you are any more than you can change how tall you are.
If I was just to be very successful I would be happy.

Answers: False, false and false.
Ed Diener, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois says, "Happiness doesn't just feel good. It's good for you and for society. Happy people are more successful, have better relationships, are healthier and live longer. We've learned in 10 years that happy people are more productive at work, learn more in school, get promoted more, are more creative and are liked more."

Great if you happen to be one of the people born happy, right? Not exactly. Another major finding is that about half of our tendency toward happiness is genetic, while the rest is controlled by the individual.
 
Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at UC Riverside and author of "The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want," and her colleagues analyzed studies on identical twins and other research and came to the conclusion that happiness is 50% genetic, 40% intentional and 10% circumstantial."Half of your predisposition toward happiness you can't change," she says. "It's in your genes. Your circumstances -- where you live, your health, your work, your marriage -- can be tough to change. But most people are surprised that circumstances don't account for as much of their happiness as they think."

Life circumstances don't result in sustained happiness, she said, because we adapt. That new car, promotion or house feels great at first. Then we get used to it. An old but often-cited study found lottery winners were no happier than control groups after a year. That doesn't mean that getting out of a bad job or a terrible marriage won't give your happiness a boost. But sustaining that good feeling requires something else: deliberate control of how you act and think. That's the 40% intentional part that Lyubomirsky and others are most interested in.
 
In her research, Lyubomirsky led controlled studies to determine what behaviors positively affect happiness, and has come up with at least 12 strategies that measurably increase levels. For instance, one strategy she's tested is the practice of gratitude. In her gratitude study, she had a group of 57 subjects express gratitude once a week in a journal. A second group of 58 expressed gratitude in a journal three times a week. And a control group of 32 did nothing. At the end of six weeks, she retested all three groups and found a significant increase in happiness in those that journaled.

She and other researchers also recommend practicing forgiveness, savoring positive moments and becoming more involved in your church, synagogue or religious organization. "Not every strategy fits everyone," she says. "People need to try a few to find which ones work."
 
"If you have no goal other than your personal happiness, you'll never achieve it. If you want to be happy, pursue something else vigorously and happiness will catch up with you."
 
Weblink: The LA Times
 
Source: The LA Times, Special to The Times, By Marnell Jameson, September 8, 2008
Dr. Iverson's Comment
This is something that we are all becoming more aware of with the amount of information that is presently available to us in the world of quantum physics and psycho-neuro-immunology. 
 
Once again it validates the law of physics that “like substances attracts like substances.” Just as two chemical components, two fat molecules for example, are attracted to and mix with one another, so does this apply to the quantum physics aspect of thought and emotion. 
 
We attract that which we are.   If we find gratitude in our present life and peace in the presence of now…we as well find our own happiness in that. As opposed to being in a state of misery, hating life, trying to escape the present moment and wishing to only be happy. In this state we would only push away happiness and attract more misery. Makes sense why the “rich get richer and the poor get poorer?”
 
If you haven’t seen the movie “The Secret” it is a wonderful and practical illustration of how we can attract more of what we desire in our lives through the laws of attraction.
 
May peace and happiness be with you right NOW (in the present moment!)

 

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