A Great Question

So...if happiness is such a good thing, what are the main influences on our happiness and which can we do more about? If happiness is considered 100%, what percentages would you consider the influence of genetics, life circumstances, personal choices, phases of the moon, etc?

Surprisingly, research has shown that our genetic set point influences 50% of our happiness. There are a variety of ways that our predisposition to happiness is heavily influenced by genetics. Regardless, this does not mean individuals are trapped. In the same way we are genetically predisposed to specific diseases (diabetes, heart disease) and we can make changes to lifestyle, diet, sleep and exercise to reduce risk, there are practical ways to positively impact our genetic predisposition with respect to happiness.

More surprisingly, life circumstances only impact long term happiness by  only 10%. At only 10%, this removes a significant portion of factors that can be blamed for unhappiness. The good news is that this also means we are not defined by out past or imprisoned in the present!  The reason why circumstances do not affect us much is that we adapt over time. A great example is that research has shown that money does not lead to lasting happiness because individuals will adapt to any level of money over time. Ask most lottery winners!

The most challenging factor influencing out happiness is personal control, calculated at a whopping 40%! It is not events themselves that determine our happiness, but our perceptions of those events. Our personal control suggests that being happy involves choices, the motivation to expend effort and the decision to see situations as opportunities for growth and learning. 

How often have you heard someone say "I didn't have a choice"? What they are really saying is "the right choice for me was too hard to make!".

If making the right choices for you is too intimidating, your coach can support you in creating process and accountability that will lead to greater happiness.