Are you happy? How happy are you? According to author Sonja Lyubomirsky, there are things you can do in your own life to bring about happiness. Jean talks with Sonja about her book, The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want, and how to create the most happiness in your own life.
Sonja, who has researched happiness for more than 18 years, says there are things we all can do to make ourselves a little bit happier. While about half of our happiness is genetic, Sonja says there is still at least another 40 percent that is within our control. "Even if you are born an unhappy person, that doesn't mean you are doomed to be unhappy," she says. "It just means you have to work a little bit harder to be happy than the average person."
One of the problems with attaining happiness is people's tendency to adapt or get used to almost anything, Sonja says. One study showed that people get a huge boost after they are married, but then in two years, happiness goes back to what it was before. "We kind of get used to almost every positive thing in our lives," she says.
Another road block to happiness is that people are constantly striving for more, and therefore never satisfied. Sonja says focusing on strategies such as expressing gratitude, expressing kindness, trying to be a more forgiving person and living in the moment can all contribute to our overall happiness.
Sonja also says that, contrary to popular belief, having more money does not make us happier. "Research has shown that we adapt to almost any level of salary," she says. "I think being happier on the job is so much more important [than salary] because being a happier person is going to be good for your family and your children."
Printed from Oprah.com on Sunday, December 8, 2013