Happiness Myths

(“Happiness Myths” audio version)

This is going to sound nerdy, but if I won the lottery I would be a professional student… and I would have a personal chef and massage therapist. But because I have yet to win the lottery, I can only take online classes from time to time and my favorite class thus far is The Science of Well-Being with Dr. Laurie Santos of Yale University. A major take-away from the class is the dichotomy between what many people think will make them happy versus what will actually make them happy. Professor Santos cited several studies that proved people are not necessarily happier if they:

  • Make more money. (Note: Happiness capped at the $75,000 salary mark.)
  • Lose weight. In fact, many people reported a significant decrease in happiness several months after losing weight.
  • Get plastic surgery. Similarly to the weight loss trend, people who thought that by electing to have a surgery like breast implants were actually less happy after their surgery.
  • Buy an expensive car. Studies found that accumulating expensive things did not improve happiness and even showed a decrease in happiness.
  • Get married. It turns out married people are just as happy/unhappy as unmarried people.

I also learned that happiness is not completely dependent on what happens in life. Instead, happiness is:

50% Genetics

40% Actions and Thoughts

10% Life

This breakdown is quite remarkable. With the 50% genetics, one can assume a “Que Sera, Sera” mindset to some degree. But, with the 10% life, you realize that we cannot blame our lack of happiness on what happens to us and we have a 40% chance of negating whatever bad things life throws our way (like all of 2020) by taking positive actions and having positive thoughts.

—Becca Edwards, founder of Female IQ

One comment

  1. Secretlyclever · January 28, 2021

    I love this. Use the mantra “choose joy” taught to me by a dear friend who’s children lost their father far too soon in life. I often remind my children about this as life throws them small (but their own) curve balls. And try to practice on a daily basis myself. That’s the “thoughts” part of my control. The “action” tends to be exercise for me. Although I know this can manifest itself in many forms of “actions”.


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