We all strive to be happy and live a fulfilled life surrounded by the people we love.
Happiness isn't just one component; it includes our entire lives starting from the different
feelings we experience to our ultimate life satisfaction.
Happiness involves a range of positive emotions which include joy, pride, contentment, and gratitude. A growing body of research also suggests that happiness can improve your physical health. Feelings of positivity and contentment benefits cardiovascular health, the immune system, inflammation levels, and blood pressure, among other things. Happiness has even been linked to a longer lifespan providing more years to continue striving for fulfillment.
Researchers found that people from every corner of the world rate happiness more important than other desirable personal outcomes, such as having a meaningful life, becoming rich, and getting into heaven.
In order to fully understand the causes of happiness and what affects it, researchers need to define it first. "Subjective well-being" is one of the main key terms when describing happiness and it is defined as the measure of the satisfaction of people with their own lives. However, in order to do so, positive and negative emotions are also measured. Sonja Lyubomirsky wrote a book entitled "The How of Happiness", where she describes happiness as a combination of positive experiences such as joy, contentment, and well-being, and combined it with the feeling of one's life as good, meaningful, and worthwhile.
Although our genes influence about 50% of the variation in our personal happiness, our circumstances (like income and environment) affect only about 10%. As much as 40% is accounted for by our daily activities and the conscious choices we make. So, the good news is that our actions really can make a difference.