Happiness is largely a state of mind.
“The fountain of happiness can be found in how you behave, what you think and what goals you set every day of your life.”
“Aiming for greater happiness is no small endeavor, requiring effort and commitment.”
“Happy people are all alike; every unhappy person is unhappy in his or her own way.”
Ultimately, your happiness is not conditioned by life’s external circumstances.
“Some of us are likely to be not just slightly unhappy but clinically or subclinically depressed…moderate to severe depression, especially, requires urgent attention from a professional.”
Some people are more genetically disposed to happiness than others.
“When asked what they want most in life, people put happiness at the top of their lists.”
Anyone, except for the clinically depressed, can be happier if they choose to be.
“Research suggests that the initial steps to becoming happier can be implemented straightaway.”
Most happy people share the same “happiness habits.”
“The strategies that help you be happier – counting your blessings, cultivating optimism, practicing religion, nurturing relationships, savoring life’s joys and so on – are also strategies that help you manage life’s lowest ebbs.”
To be happy, establish new happiness habits for yourself.
“People have a remarkable capacity to become inured to any positive changes in their lives.”
Establishing such habits requires hard work and dedicated effort.
“Has happiness today become a fad, like hula hoops, big hairdos and Fonzie?”
Create these habits by doing various “happiness exercises” on a daily basis.
“All of us want to be happy, even if we don’t admit it openly or choose to cloak our desire in different words.”
These exercises include being joyful about life, feeling gratitude for what you have and always living in the moment.
“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” (the Talmud)
Some exercises work better than others depending on people’s personalities, lifestyles and attributes.
“Everyone’s goal should be to turn positive thinking and behavior strategies into habits.”
Psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, and winner of the Templeton Positive Psychology Prize.
SONJA LYUBOMIRSKY is professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside. She received her B.A. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in social psychology from Stanford University. Lyubomirsky and her research have been the recipients of many honors, including the 2002 Templeton Positive Psychology Prize and a multiyear grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. She lives in Santa Monica, California, with her family. Her next book, The Myths of Happiness, will be published by The Penguin Press in January 2013.