Fortune Cookie

7 of 10
Tip 7: Happiness Is a Choice, Not Just a Matter of Genes or Good Luck
According to researchers at The Happiness Project in the U.K., our generic inheritance towards optimism (happiness) or pessimism is only about 50 percent. So with the other 50 percent you're able to make new choices.

Translation: This is good news! It means you control that other 50 percent of your reaction to life's difficulties and can do things to change your happiness level.

Easier said than done, right? Well, positive psychologist Dr. Jonathan Haidt has devised a very useful formula for how to be happier:

H = S + C + V

H = happiness

S = set point for happiness

C = current condition

V = voluntary activities

In other words, your happiness level is a potent mix of how naturally happy you are (that 50 percent figure) combined with whatever's going on in your life right now that affects your happiness, plus those voluntary activities you choose to fill your life with. (There's that word choose again!)

Bounce Back Assignment: If your happiness level isn't registering high enough because current conditions are dragging you down, forget about what you can't control and focus on those V's. Those Voluntary activities.

Decide to add more "ING" to your life. By "ING" I mean runn-ING, hik-ING, cook-ING, salsa danc-ING, cycl-ING, paint-ING, do-ING the things that make you happy. Whatever they are, make sure they make you feel Vital, Vibrant, Va Va Voom, Victorious!