Barbara: I watched the film, Happy, last week. It’s a compelling doc by Roko Belic that features interviews of "regular joes" and happiness experts, searching around the world for untapped secrets to happiness. I definitely recommend seeing it yourself (yes, it will make you happy), but I also thought I’d share a quick list of points I gleaned while watching.
1. Our individual happiness scale is based 50% on our genetic predisposition, 10% (only!) on our circumstances, and 40% (a lot!) on WHAT WE DO.
2. We can make ourselves happier by switching things up. Seeing new things in our immediate surroundings or exploring the greater world will generate feelings of happiness.
3. Most of us are wired to aim for happiness, but those lovely dopamine receptors do begin to die off after the teen years. The experts recommend: use it or lose it!
4. Any adrenaline rush—like during exercise—keeps these dopamine receptors in fighting shape.
5. Helping people makes us happy.
6. Being (and acting as) part of a larger community makes us happy.
8. Having not enough money to survive does adversely affect our happiness, but having more and more of it—ie, enough to survive upwards to gazillions—doesn’t at all.
7. Explore and give reign to your creative side in order to feel “you are being yourself”, but also make sure you do the kind of work you need to do to feel “useful”.
8. The number one, most consistent factor for the happiest people around the world, from every kind of background, class, race, and social system? A circle of family and friends. You don’t have to love them all or agree with them all the time, but you do want to recognize and nurture the circle. In fact, I don’t remember there being any mention in the film of needing to have that one special someone in order to be happy, but there were many many examples of the excellent benefits of the circle.
Hello, cherished friends! You make me happy.
Deb: I found this so fascinating. Only 10% on circumstances reminds us of the old adage “money can’t buy happiness.” I am one of those people who is wired for happiness, thank God, and it has never changed for me. Sure, I get unhappy but my body always wants to BE happy. As I went down the list I was happy to be able to tick each and every thing off my own list. Wow, I am feeling lucky today!