“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
Perhaps Lincoln was on to something. In fact, research shows that only 10% of a person’s happiness comes from external factors, like money and possessions. Psychologists have conducted extensive research over the past several decades seeking to find the basis of happiness. Some of the findings may surprise you:
- Only 50% of happiness comes from genes and family upbringing.
- 40% of happiness comes from your outlook on life—including what you choose to do in life.
- Older people are happier than younger people. Individuals aged 20–24 are sad an average of 3.4 days per month, while those age 65–74 average 2.3 days of sadness per month.
- Twenty minutes of exercise three days per week can increase happiness levels by 10–20%.
- Women are unhappiest at age 37; men at age 42.
- Money does not equate happiness. In fact, the peak happiness was found in individuals making $70,000 per year. Earnings above that did not increase happiness.
- Happier people have up to 50% more antibodies than unhappy people.
- Children who are hugged often become happier adults.
Want to increase your own happiness levels? The number one way to do so is to recognize your strengths, talents, and life’s purpose and focus on sharing those parts of yourself with others. In the words of the Dalai Lama XIV, “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”