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The "Happiness Quotient"
The desire to be happier seems like a given, doesn’t it? For Gretchen Rubin, it wasn’t. Riding in a taxi in New York City, at the age of 41, she recalls, “I realized I wanted to be happy. It was a lightning-bolt moment because I’d never even thought about it before.” As part of her happiness plan, she kept a gratitude journal, spent more quality time with her husband and decided to read a poem each day.
Some are skeptical that the path to happiness can be so carefully planned out and achievable, but happiness researchers—there are such people—are confident it can be. As with so many aspects of our lives, genetics count for something, and in this case, can determine 50% of one’s “happiness quotient.” With 10% going to harsh life circumstances, this leaves about 40% to be determined by what YOU decide brings happiness.
Will Fleeson, a psychologist, suggests starting with small ways to boost the spirit that have some kind of adventurous or assertive characteristic, such as laughing out loud. On the other hand, there will always be times where happiness is impossible, like when a loved one dies. Here it is important to avoid forcing happiness, and the subsequent guilt for not feeling it; instead, cope the way you can and move forward.
What would be part of your happiness plan? [Reader's Digest]