How Happiness Happens

August 2017

Photo: Thinkstock

Woohoo…August 8th is National Happiness Happens Day! You have my permission to use an excess of exclamation points in all of your correspondences today.

Social media memes displaying an inventory of things that make people happy abound—morning coffee, reading a book, being outdoors, a romantic getaway, puppies and so on. Most tips in these lists resonate with me until I get to “staying in pajamas all day.” There are lots of lists with suggestions that will help you on the road to happy, but it often takes individual and community effort.

The state of an individual’s happiness covers a spectrum, and we experience the variation in ourselves, family, friends, coworkers and companies. There are some people that appear consistently happy—those bubbly types that exude palpable positive energy, like my sister’s forever-friend, Mary, who has been blessed with a lifelong exuberance. And there are those that are persistently gloomy, much like one of the women at my gym, dubbed Dark Cloud by her friends (yes, she has friends). Dark Cloud proclaims to hate all dogs and scowls often.

Businesses realize the value of keeping customers happy and some weave that mission into their company profile and name like DCH (Delivering Customer Happiness) Auto Group. Twirling Tiger Media conducts an annual client and team member survey to determine satisfaction levels, or happiness…to see where we can improve.

Gretchen Rubin, happiness researcher and author of The Happiness Project, explained how everyone has a baseline level of happiness and a particular range in which it can rise and fall. “About 50 percent, they think, is genetically determined. You’re hardwired that way,” Rubin says. “And then about 10 to 20 percent is life circumstances, so that’s things like age and health and occupation.”

Rubin claims that once you understand your baseline for happiness, there are ways in which you can alter your own conscious thoughts and actions to push yourself to the top of your happiness range, or to the bottom.

We certainly are aware of things that go wrong in life and can spend lots of time bemoaning these occurrences. I believe it takes effort to acknowledge all of the good things that we accomplish and encounter each day. A simple reframing may set you on the right path to better experiencing happiness.

—Maureen 🙂