photo by *_filippo_*
Which of these things, do you think would make you happier:
- A relationship?
- More flexibility at work?
- A new job?
- An extra bedroom?
- A more attentive spouse?
- A baby?
- Looking younger?
- Pain relief?
- Losing weight?
- More money?
- More time?
You might be surprised to learn that these things have only a small impact on our happiness. In our search, “we overlook the true sources of personal happiness.” So begins “The How of Happiness” by Sonja Lyubomirsky.
“The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want” by Sonja Lyubomirsky is a fantastic new book which gives you three important categories of information relating to happiness. First it gives you the scientific facts about happiness which states that 40% of your happiness is totally within your control. The second part of the book, which is the real meat and, I think, the greatest value, gives a wealth of advice on how to be happy, maximizing that 40% which is in your control. The last part of the book discusses maintaining lifelong happiness and a brief discussion about what to do if you suffer from depression.
Part One: The Science – “How to Attain Real and Lasting Happiness”
“The How of Happiness” discusses how and why you are happy including your
- Genetic Setpoint – responsible for 50% of your happiness
- Life Circumstances -responsible for 10% of your happiness
- Intentional Activity – responsible for 40% of your happiness
Ms. Lyubomirsky does a good job with presenting this information. There are interesting case studies to demonstrate the scientific findings. Where I got really excited was in the middle of the book and let me tell you why.
Part Two: The Instruction Manual – “Happiness Activities”
I liked this part of the book the best partly because that’s what I personally like to focus on: taking action. I am personally a big believer in analyzing happiness only enough to figure out what to do next to make life fun. Too much analysis = paralysis = more unhappiness.
The “Happiness Activities” cover these areas:
- Practicing Gratitude and Positive Thinking
- Investing in Social Connections
- Managing Stress, Hardship, and Trauma
- Living in the Present
- Committing to Your Goals
- Taking Care of Your Body and Soul
In all there are 12 “Happiness Activities” presented within those areas. And this is the other reason why I like this book so much. Each activity is fully fleshed out with in-depth instructions, references to happiness studies, anecdotal stories and more. The information contained in this book is at once highly usable, interesting, and valuable.
Part Three: Maintaining Lifelong Happiness – “Secrets to Abiding Happiness”
This section covers the “Five Hows” of maintaining happiness for your whole life. In it, the author discusses the 12 happiness activities from a macro level, examining them as they relate to each other and how you might combine them. There is also guidance on how to stick with the activities as a lifelong commitment. And lastly, a postscript on depression discusses the causes and most effective treatments for this disease.
The Bottom Line – My Recommendation
Could you find all this information on the web for free? Perhaps some, but not all in one convenient place, nicely organized together in such a useful format. I definitely recommend this book. Check it out at your local library or you can purchase it at Amazon by clicking on this link: “The How of Happiness“
Thanks for reading and here’s to your happiness!
If and when you read the book, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it! All comments big and small are very welcomed!
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