What Contributes to Your Happiness?
Happiness means different things to different people. Check out this activity to discover what contributes to your happiness.
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It turns out that defining happiness is not always a simple task. Across different research studies, happiness is defined in many different ways, and it has many different features. For example, happiness can be defined as having positive emotions, high levels of well-being, or having strong interpersonal relationships.
Usually though, happiness includes both momentary positive emotions and a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in life. In my book, Outsmart Your Smartphone, I talk about how happiness as a skill that has to be built, but I also note that it is influenced by your surroundings. For example, if I build my skills to think positive, be mindful, and cultivate resilience, I am likely to be happier than if I didn't build these skills. But if I just lost my job and am getting divorced, I might not be as happy as someone who doesn't have to deal with this stress. This is how happiness comes from both inside us and everything around us.
What Is Happiness to You?
Further complicating the matter is that each person's happiness is affected differently by different experiences. For example, Bob may really love his job. His happiness may be more dependent on personal growth or success at work. Sally, on the other hand, may primarily see herself as a mother charged with taking good care of her children. Her happiness may be more dependent on the strength of her relationships with her family. So each person has different types of happy thoughts and may define happiness is a slightly different way.
Activity: What Is Happiness?
In order for each of us to increase our own happiness, we first need to understand what happiness means to us. Below are several features of happiness. For the following activity, please rate how much you believe the features contribute to your happiness. Everyone is different, so there are no wrong answers. By doing this activity you increase self-awareness making it easier to create the happiness you seek.
After answering the questions above, reflect on what you could do to increase happiness in your life. Specifically, how could you create more of the thing that generates happiness for you?
What Did People Say Contributes to Their Happiness?
Thank you to everyone who submitted your responses to this activity! We can now share with everyone what contributes to happiness among our website viewers.
What to do next
Among our website viewers, positive thinking, gratitude, and kindness were the biggest contributors to happiness. Check out these articles and resources to keep building these skills:
About Dr. Tchiki Davis
Dr. Davis is founder of The Berkeley Well-Being Institute. After getting her PhD in psychology at Berkeley, she started creating online content & programs to boost well-being—some of these have reached more than a million people. As author of Outsmart Your Smartphone, and contributor to Psychology Today, The Greater Good Science Center, and Shine Text, Dr. Davis aims to share her insights on happiness & health with people all across the world. Learn more about Dr. Davis.