We might think that the finer things in life will make us happy, but the truth is that it’s the mundane everyday things that have the most impact on our sense of well being. A recent study from the University of Northern British Columbia came up with some interesting findings. The technical term for how good we judge life to be is called our “subjective well being.” It turns out that situations we have some control over, like our job, education, or finances, account for only 10-15% of our subjective well being. Happiness is mainly a factor of our personality traits and temperament, it doesn’t depend so much on the trials and victories that we encounter along the way. More money doesn’t make us happier, but more time to enjoy ourselves does. If we want to influence that 10-15% in our favor, here are some things we can do:
-Make friends. Spending time with friends is a great mood lifter. Develop social skills and learn how to approach people with confidence.
-Volunteer. One study says that volunteer work generates more joy than anything except dancing. There is a sense of accomplishment and social connection in doing something meaningful that also makes it fun.
-Spend time doing what you love. Activities that combine socializing and physical activity are best. Leisure time can be relaxing, but happiness comes more from being active.