US Med Voice

US Med


Vol. 3, No. 6 | June 2011




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Be Happy
Science Shows 40% Of Your Happiness Level Is Up To You

US MED Gives BackSome people are generally glum and joyless. Others are generally happy most of the time in spite of trying conditions. Are people just born that way?

Yes -- at least in part.

Groundbreaking scientific research by University of California psychology professor Sonya Lyubomirsky shows that 50 percent of a person's general outlook is inborn. Another 10 percent of a person's happiness level can be attributed to life circumstances such as divorce or loss of a loved one.

But wait! That leaves 40 percent of your present capacity for happiness strictly up to you. Her new book, The How of Happiness, is a gift to all who would take their level of happiness into their own hands.

Basic to the whole process is her conclusion that staying active is profoundly related to happiness.

Exercises she prescribes include keeping a "best possible self" journal to outline future goals over the next six weeks or more. Even nine months later, she reports, the positive effects were being felt. She also recommends:

Decide to spend 30 minutes later to ruminate. It may seem less consequential then.

Learn good coping skills. Write down traumatic experiences and learn how to recognize them and argue with overly pessimistic thoughts.

Savor life's joys, even if they are just a good meal or a shower. Conjure up a favorite memory when you feel down.

Unlike many self-help books, all these recommendations are supported by scientific research.

The strategies can make the difference between a happy and an unhappy life, says the author. That's good news for the gloomy among us

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