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How to Understand and Influence Our Happiness

By Hugo Huyer, Founder of Tracking Happiness

Happiness is the most important personal goal for most people, and I’d be surprised if you disagree with this. What’s the point of life if we’re not living it happily? What’s the point of achieving success if you’re not happy as a result? What if you have been unhappy for a long time already?

I think about these questions a lot, and if you’re the same, then this short article is for you.

Understanding our happiness

It turns out happiness is not just a result of the things that happen around you. In fact, happiness is much more dependent on your own mindset. Positive psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky went as far as to say that happiness is determined as follows:

  • 50% determined by genetics
  • 10% determined by external factors
  • 40% determined by your state of mind

Happiness is influenced by a virtually endless amount of factors. The factors that determine how happy we feel are different for everyone of us. What makes me happy will not necessarily make you happy too. Our own definition of happiness is as unique as we are ourselves.

But I believe we can understand 100% of our happiness.

Even though there are some factors that we can’t control (like the weather, our genetics, the health of our family, etc.) we can still try to understand these factors and be aware of how they influence our lives.

If you’re able to understand 100% of your happiness, you’re much better able to steer your life in a happy direction.

Influencing our happiness

Despite the fact that we can’t control every single factor of our lives, we can still control a part of them. In fact, we can influence how we react to certain factors, even when we can’t control the factors themselves (think of bad traffic, the weather or being ill).

That why it’s very important to understand that we have the ability to choose our own happiness more often than we might realize.

I’m not saying that you can stand in front of a mirror and repeat the phrase “I’m happy” 39 times and KAPOW, you’re happy. It doesn’t work like that.

I mean that you can take a number of steps in your life right now that will make you happier tomorrow. After having researched, tracked and written about happiness for 5 years, I’ve compiled everything I know into a guide about how to be happy. Here’s a brief summary:

Step 1: Focus on your mind

By developing self-awareness, confidence and finding a purpose in your life, you are setting yourself up for long-term happiness. If you lack a healthy mindset, you’ll find it much more difficult to maintain a good level of happiness. Even when eternal happiness doesn’t exist, it’s still important to always have a positive outlook.

Step 2: Develop good relationships

Even when you’re an introvert like me, it’s very important that you find people in your life that have a positive influence on your happiness. That could be your parents, high school friends, your children or your partner. Find the people that make you happy and develop a great relationship with them.

Similarly, you need to stop wasting time with people that only cost you energy. Get rid of toxic people, even though it might seem difficult. Toxic people will only keep you down.

Step 3: Take care of your body

A lot of people will say that nothing is worth a damn without good physical and mental health. This is further supported by raw data. Year after year, the World Happiness Report shows us that a long and healthy life is highly correlated with happiness. If you want to be happy, you have to prioritize your fitness level. Also, don’t forget about proper rest, sleep and relaxation!

Step 4: Find intellectual happiness

Everybody wants to live a purposeful life. It’s part of our human ways, as we don’t like the feeling of standing still. We need to constantly move forward to some goal or purpose. If we don’t, we are less happy. It’s easier said than done, though.

When you have a purpose, your long-term happiness, satisfaction, and sense of achievement are much better definable. With a purpose, you are able to steer your life in the best direction possible. And that’s the direction where long-term happiness can be found!

About Hugo Huyer, Founder of Tracking Happiness

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Hugo started tracking his happiness in his early twenties and has documented his entire journey on TrackingHappiness.com. His unique Happiness Essays have reached hundreds of thousands of readers while inspiring them to join him on his journey. Hugo believes that "what gets measured gets managed". He believes happiness is something we can understand, influence and improve, not just for ourselves but for the world around us.

Hugo Huyer on the Web
More on: Adult Mental Health Care, Anxiety, Depression
Latest update: July 3, 2019