Scientists are studying happiness and how to achieve it.  Here are some findings; around half your happiness level is hereditary.  Half of us are born gloomy and half cheerful by nature.  Around 40% is due to a recent event, like an illness or a promotion.  This effect is temporary and wears off after a month or so.

At least 12% is under your control.  There are four basics; faith, family, community and work.  Your spiritual life, regardless of how you express it, is very important. Friends and close family relationships are essential.  Your ties with your community, especially through service, contribute immensely to your happiness.

Remember that these percentages are from years and years of research on many, many people.  They do not necessarily apply to you.  They simply show how likely you are to be happy if you are representative of the normal populations.  Which you are most decidedly not.  You are unique, and you are able to control your state of mind to an amazing degree.  This is nothing new.

Work is Key to Happiness

Success in your work is one way to achieve great happiness.  You express your natural excellence and talents at what you do and it is productive.  Around half the people interviewed by scientists said they were happy in their work.  That’s why you have to be very careful about retirement.  Retirees tend to die within a few years, unless they replace the meaningfulness of work with some else that is important.  My solution to this potential problem is to keep right on working.  I could have retired around 25 years ago but was having too much fun inventing stuff, selling engineered products and experimenting with new ventures.  Which I still do.

Let’s go back to that alleged 12% of your happiness that is under your control.  Remember the 40% due to a recent circumstance?  Let’s take back some of that, by learning to influence your thoughts.  One way to do this is through meditation, which is the subject of another article.  In brief, if you learn to meditate and then meditate often you mind will gradually become more tranquil and happy.  The physical structure of your brain will change.  Parts related to happiness will become larger, with more interconnections with other parts of your brain.  You will become a happier person regardless of heredity, circumstances and life events.

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