Happiness-The 40% Rule

Finding Happiness:

Research shows that up to 40% of one’s happiness is influenced by our habits, particularly our thought habits and patterns, in addition to our behavioural habits, such as level of activity, exercising, spending time with people.


The breakdown
Here’s what research claims is the breakdown regarding happiness.

50% setpoint
This is our natural disposition, the general tendencies and pre-dispositions. You can think of this as that which comes from the gene-pool.

10% circumstances
A small portion of happiness is one’s situation, things like employment satisfaction, relationship situation and satisfaction, health related matters, etc.

40% Your habits, activities, etc.

Why is that important? Well, 40% is a lot and likely enough room to tip the scales favourably towards improved happiness, level of life satisfaction and increased social connections.

So what can I do about my happiness?

Considering the degree of potential influence on one’s degree of happiness, strategically the general approach is to Stop bad habits and Start new ones.

Stop Bad Habits and Negative Thinking Patterns by using CBT

CBT, or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, is an approach that essentially stops negative thinking and doing/behaving patterns. Using CBT tools, the first steps are to become a student of your negative thoughts, make these negative thoughts a study, like a project. Learn what these thoughts actually say, what are the words, when do they tend to happen, does this escalate with a cascade of negative thoughts.

Slowing down, then stopping these types of thinking habits puts one more in control of their experience with not only thoughts, but also emotions. Slowing down and stopping the spiral-effect of these patterns allows for “room”, meaning emotional room, to experience something different, perhaps more positive.

Start the habits from the happiness-formula

So the CBT tools are mostly about stopping negative thinking and behaving patterns from getting going, slowing them down so much so that more ‘room’ is created for other possibilities and experiences. So what do you do to stack the deck heavy, using evidence-based research findings that tell us how to deliberate influence that 40% that’s up for grabs.

Listed below are the 5 key areas to concentrate on when considering influencing your happiness experience.

1. Train Your Brain
This is related to the CBT methods mentioned above.

2. Stay Connected in Relationships
Keep connected with important friends, family, colleagues.

3. Live in the Moment
Learning to pay attention to the positive aspects of your everyday experience encourages a ‘live-in-the-moment’ perspective and experience.

4. Help Out
Turns out you get a lot of positive emotional benefit from helping other folks out. Do so as much as you are able to.

5. Stay Active
It’s no big secret that when you take care of your body through regular exercise, good emotional dividends tends to happen.