The Secret to Happiness?

We had a rough start to our week.  It definitely was a Monday!  On days like these, I have to remind myself to be happy.  It takes effort, but I find that there are small things to enjoy, even on hectic days.  Recently, Oprah did a show on happiness and I can’t think of a better way to start the week than focusing on happiness.

Do you consider yourself a happy person?  According to the Gallup study, 57% of Americans are happy, 40% are trying to be happy and 3% are suffering.  Which group do you belong to?

Do you think happiness is genetic?  According to University of California, Berkeley, 50% of happiness is determined by genetics and 40% of happiness can be learned. 

Do you make time in your day for complete silence?  According to Harvard University, spending just 10 minutes a day, sitting and breathing, can increase happiness.  I can attest to this.  Especially if you are home with your children all day.  Silence is calming and introspective.  It can work wonders in your life.  Try it.

How often do you have sex?  The more sex you have, the happier you will be (Princeton University).  It’s a biological hormone thing, but Oprah joked that this study was created by a man.  :)  I have to agree.  LOL.

Does having children make you happier?  Dan Buettner, who is a happiness researcher and author, says having children does not necessarily make you happier.  He says it adds stress to your life and it’s actually harder on women than men.  I agree and disagree with his opinion.  I have been the most happy and the most frustrated since becoming a parent, but the extreme highs easily outweighs the lows.

How well do you know your neighbors?  The more neighbors you know, the safer and happier you feel and having happy neighbors increases your happiness by 34% (Harvard University & University of California, San Diego). I’ve always known that the people I’m around influence my outlook on life.  I try to surround myself with happy people and couples in happy, healthy relationships.  It makes a huge difference.

How do you increase your happiness? 

Find a job close to where you live. You need to make an additional $40,000 per year to make up for an hour commute.  And, when you are looking for a job, focus on what gives you bliss, not what gives you bucks. 

Join a club.  Joining a club that requires you to show up once a month can have the same effect as doubling your income.  I’m going to start attending the Dallas Quilting Guild with my dear friend Alli.  Alli, call me next time they meet!  :)

Remember…it’s the basics that bring you happiness.  Did I marry the right person?  Do I volunteer in a way that I feel like I’m giving back?  Do I like where I live?  Do I have meaningful connections with people?

{Here are a few of the people who bring happiness to my life, my family.}

To take Oprah’s happiness quiz, click here.

Now, go out there and find your bliss, make meaningful connections and be happy.