Happiness: It’s in What you Do

happiness-by-ernohanninkThere is evidence that happiness is in part genetic — maybe 40%, according to researchers. Another 10% of your happiness level seems to depend on circumstances. That leaves about half of your happiness up to you.

Just what factors make people happiest? Happiness experts distinguish between hedonistic pleasure, which makes people feel happy temporarily, and more lasting types of happiness which come from accomplishing things, helping others, and deep engagement in things about which we feel passionate.

UCLA researchers recently released a new study that takes the earlier knowledge a step further. Turns out what when you feel purposeful in your happiness, you’re more likely to get the physical benefits of being happy, like a better immune system. Those more self-serving types of happiness don’t product gene-expressions that result in higher immunity and less risk of cancer. Here are a few things we love that can help you be more happy while doing something great for others.

  • Try gardening and donating some of the bounty to others. Turns out that some happy germs in dirt they injected into mice brains resulted in more serotonin, the happiness chemical in our brains. Dig in and do it for a good purpose and you’ll be well on your way! Tri Cycle Farms is a good place to help if you don’t have space for your own garden patch.
  • Why do we love weekends so much? Turns out it is because of the freedom to choose, not just because we’re out of the office. Turn that choice into an office wide outdoor party with an outdoor lunch break. Lead a walk around a nearby park, toss the Frisbee around in the parking lot, or sneak away with a group for once a month on an excursion for a hike.
  • The best thing you can do for your happiness is start volunteering for a cause you care about. Love the Buffalo River area? Join in to volunteer to build new trails or restore old historic buildings!

There are hundreds of ways you can pair your love for the outdoors with doing good for others to get the ultimate happiness benefits. Give it a try!

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