Wellbeing and Happiness
Wellbeing and Happiness
Over the last few years there has been a huge interest in the subject of Wellbeing and Happiness. Recent discoveries in Positive Psychology and Neuroscience have highlighted the fact that happiness is within our grasp, if we know how to embrace it.
Happiness researchers tell us, in order to understand why some people are happier than others, we must first explore how thoughts, goals and behaviours are contributing to your level of happiness. Current research advises us that we not accept a consumerist philosophy, but instead to look at our own lives reflectively, asking ourselves what has brought us the most authentic joy?
Research studies suggest that approx 50% of our happiness is based on our genetic inheritance.. In other words, those random set of genes you received from your biological parents contributes significantly to your overall experience of happiness and wellbeing. Some of us won the genetic lottery, are blessed with sunny dispositions and naturally see the good in life, while many of us have a tendency towards pessimism and ‘glass-is-half-empty’ thinking. Only approx. 10% of our happiness comes from external circumstances. (our financial resources, our careers, our climate and health, whether we have a life partner, how attractive we look etc.)
This is due to adaptation, because no matter what good or bad things happen to you – (whether it is a promotion at work, a new car, getting married to the love of your life) — you adapt and after a time (often not very long) it no longer carries much emotional benefit. Some scientists describe this asour tendency to return to a basic happiness “set point.”
Check this out for yourself – think about the last time you worked hard to accomplish something or bought something you really wanted. How long did the buzz last? How long before those positive emotions were replaced with the desire for the next thing? In one well-documented study, researchers found that lottery winners return to their original baseline level of happiness within one year of their life-changing event! Striving to achieve and acquire, in effecting our happiness levels by only 10% is therefore, not a path to any sustainable increase in wellbeing.
- So guess what? That remaining 40% of our happiness comes from our intentional activity: what we do and how we think. Forty percent of our happiness is therefore IN OUR CONTROL. Researchers have been actively testing what activities and thought patterns add to our happiness and which ones reduce it. Study after study has shown that as people integrate these activities into their lives and make new habits, based on their values, they sustainably increase their happiness.
- While respecting the traditional models of treatment in Psychology, (which focuses primarily on what causes dis-ease) we also present a wellness model. We can, therefore, help you to work with your 40% solution!