MomTalk.com January 27, 2021:   The women's magazine for moms about children, family, health, home, fashion, careers, marriage & more

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The Secret to a Happier You


By Stacey Colino

If you believe your happiness hinges on finding a better job or a bigger house, or if you suspect you're destined to have a downbeat disposition because your dad had one, think again. "Your happiness level isn't set in stone, and it's a myth that you're either born naturally happy or you aren't," says Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, and author of the recently published The How of Happiness (Penguin Press). What's more, "your intentional activities can make a big difference in your happiness level," she says. For the past 18 years, Lyubomirsky has been conducting research on what makes people happy and ways they can be happier. Her conclusion: Only 10 percent of your happiness is influenced by life circumstances, such as your financial situation or marriage. And while genetics determines 50 percent of your happiness, a full 40 percent is within your control because it is influenced by what you do and how you think in your daily life.

"I've never been the type of person to read inspirational quotes or browse through the self-help section," says Lyubomirsky. But "now I know that practicing certain happiness activities -- and practicing them in specific optimal ways -- is highly effective and has the potential to change people's lives." The first step: Choose to be happy. Then, take matters into your own hands. Lyubomirsky's book is filled with get-happy strategies, but she says the following four are among the most important:
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