"The 'We' are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves."
An ancient Middle Eastern morality tale describes what makes us happy. Sukru came upon a sad-looking older man limping along the road to town.
"What's wrong?" Sukru asked.
The man held up a torn bag and cried out, "All of my worldly possessions barely fill this putrid, sorrowful bag."
"That is such a shame," replied Sukru.
Just as the pitiful man looked the other way, Sukru grabbed the torn sack from the man's trembling hands and ran off down the dirt road.
Now with everything lost, the gaunt old fellow fell to his knees with tears streaming down his cheeks. He was far more unhappy at that moment than ever before. But saddened still, he managed to climb to his feet and began his slow journey down the road.
However, in the meantime, Sukru had rushed around the bend in the road. He placed the sack in the middle, where the frail man would see it as he hobbled around the curve.
When the sorrowful old man saw his bag sitting in the road before him, he laughed with joy and shouted, "My bag! I surely thought I'd lost you!"
Watching through the bushes, Sukru chuckled to himself. "Well, that's one way to make a miserable old man happy!"
Happiness does not depend on what we have; it depends on how we feel about what we have. We can be happy with less and miserable with more. Recent happiness studies have shown that money increases happiness when it takes people from a place with real threats (like poverty) to a reliably safe place. After that, money does not matter much. However, our story demonstrates how quickly melancholy can change to happiness with just a shift in perspective.
Happiness is indeed a powerful human emotion. Numerous studies have shown that happiness boosts motivation, creativity, and energy. It improves productivity. Research also indicates that happiness gives happy people greater power over their physical health. That is because feelings of positivity and fulfillment seem to benefit cardiovascular health, the immune system, inflammation levels, and blood pressure. It lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and lengthens life expectancy. That power means that happy people get sick less often and experience fewer symptoms when they are sick. One reason that happy people have more influence over their health is that they exercise more frequently and eat more healthily. They are healthier all around and more likely to be healthy in the future.
Happiness reinforces the power of self-worth and confidence. Happy people view things differently than unhappy people. They are more positive and more focused on solutions. Happy people view their world in terms of gain rather than loss.
Happy people have immense power over misfortune. They have control over adversity, demonstrate strength over sickness, and offer advantages over life's reversals. This power provides them with greater success in business, social situations, and everyday life. It is an inspiring power to possess—inspiring because happiness is contagious. Happy people inspire those around them by elevating their mood. Yes, the power of happiness can seem magical.
There are more benefits to happiness. The power of happiness enables more success in marriages, added friendships, higher incomes, and better work performance. With more friends, happy people have a superior support system. They have an easier time navigating through life because their optimistic outlook eases pain, sadness, and grief. They smile more and engage in more in-depth and more meaningful conversations.
Happy people exert a positive power over others. It encourages others to seek happiness, as well. Happiness reinforces happiness because happy people are more helpful and more likely to volunteer, making them happier! Happy people donate more to charity. Giving has been proven to make one happier.
The Many Powers of Happiness. Happiness was a hot topic almost 2,500 years ago when the Greek philosopher Aristotle postulated that "Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and the end of human existence." Happiness continues to be debated today. Since the 1990s, positive psychology has continued defining it. Happiness and all of its attendant powers are more than just positive feelings. They are a state of well-being that provides significant strength to those who can experience it. Such powers include a vast array of physical and mental advantages. Accompanied with these powers are the feelings of well-being and a sense of contentment. If you could select one emotion to see you through a lifetime of trials and tribulations, happiness would be at the top of your list, as you will see.
Because happiness is such an important and sought-after human emotion, hundreds of academic studies support its many powers. (I list them here in short form, due to the length of the lists, to appreciate the powers of this seemingly magical emotion. Research is ongoing, and discoveries continue to be published.) We examine many of these powers in the chapters that follow.
The Fifty Powers of Happiness. The Fifty Powers of Happiness consists of physical, health, mental, workplace, and social powers. These are the most important of the identified powers that are gained by those who experience happiness:
· Boosts motivation
· Induces more energy
· Improves productivity
· Improves physical fitness and provides stronger muscles
· Improves relaxation
· Enhances sleep
· Reduces frequency of sickness
· Reduces illness symptoms
· Reduces the risk of chronic disease
· Increases rate of recovery
· Improves the ability to endure pain when experiencing chronic illness
· Benefits cardiovascular health
· Strengthens the immune system
· Reduces inflammation levels
· Improves heart-lung function
· Increases flexibility
· Reduces stress levels
· Lowers blood pressure
· Lengthens life expectancy
· Reduces the risk of death by 18 percent
· Broadens focus
· Improves memory
· Expands thinking
· Enhances creativity
· Nurtures greater generosity
· Fosters altruism
· Counters negative emotions
· Creates a stronger desire for community volunteerism
· Improves learning ability
· Improves self-worth
· Strengthens self-confidence
· Creates feelings of well-being
· Creates a more solution-based approach to problems
· Visualizes in terms of gains rather than loss
· Increases playfulness
· Increases interest in games and sports
· Results in greater success in business
· Obtains job interviews more frequently
· Receives promotions more frequently
· Results in better decision-making
· Enhances creative problem solving
· Improves individual and team productivity
· Provides better customer service satisfaction
· Achieves greater earning power
· Improves social standing and social situation
· Attracts friends
· Improves marriages
· Eases grief recovery
· Inspires happiness among others
· Increases desire to join social organizations
After absorbing this list's importance, very few people would say that they would not like to be happier. The feeling of happiness is a beautiful experience, emotionally and mentally. It is essential to a life of good health, social well-being, and your career. It makes sense that we would want to learn more about how to create greater happiness in our lives and others' lives. Let me show you how.
What Creates Happiness?
Do you remember this from school? The founding of the United States of America was in part based on happiness. The U.S. Declaration of Independence, written in 1776, asserts the right to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." But what precisely is happiness? How do the experts quantify it? Is there a more significant benefit to possessing a happier outlook over that of the more impassive realist?
Researchers think of happiness as having meaning and satisfaction in one's life. It is the ability to identify with positive emotions and rapidly recover from negative emotions while experiencing a sense of purpose. Happiness is not about material things, although they are always nice to have. It is also not the experience of eternal pleasure. It is a much more complex concept. Your ability to connect with others, to have meaningful relationships and a sense of community is what drives happiness.
Happiness promotes self-confidence in people, and self-confident people are the optimists in this world. Optimists surround themselves with positive people and face their fears and deal with them. Happiness flourishes with an optimistic person. But what about pessimistic people? Is happiness within their reach? It is time to provide common-sense advice on optimism.
Are You a Tigger or an Eeyore?
Gretchen Rubin, a happiness researcher and author of The Happiness Project, states that there are two types of people in this world: Tiggers and Eeyores. The Tiggers are endlessly optimistic, brimming with that positivity and bouncing with energy abounding. The Eeyores, on the other hand, are the opposite of their life's outlook. Their personalities lean toward pessimism.
Some of us are Tiggers, while others are Eeyores. If you are reading this book, I will hazard a guess that you probably identify more closely with Eeyore than Tigger between the two. It is okay if that is your default position, your natural disposition. The tendency to be less optimistic and focus on the negative is not something that will permanently keep you from happiness.
Research has shown that about 50 percent of our temperament has tendencies toward positivity or negativity. It is genetically predetermined, which means that you have little control over nearly half of your outlook. You cannot help that you see the glass as half-empty or half-full. It is just how your perception calibrates you. Those tendencies are a part of your genetic makeup, just as some people are more prone to be hot-tempered, while others may be more self-conscious. The person with anger management issues needs to reorient their feelings to manage their life better. It is similar to individuals who lack self-confidence: They need to build their confidence to be more successful. In turn, natural pessimists will benefit by learning to think more positively, leading to more happiness power.
A twin study team, led by Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, and Schkade, studied two thousand twins from the Minnesota Twin Registry in 2005. They found that approximately 50 percent of life satisfaction was due to genetics, leaving 40 percent attributable to voluntary activities and 10 percent attributable to external events. They concluded that you have control over where you end up in life. As an example, you can choose to live a healthier life. You can select a career that you enjoy. Those are the kinds of factors that go into your life circumstances and, ultimately, happiness.
The research proves that happiness is within your control. A person can choose to control their thoughts and behaviors to create greater happiness. They can decide to make decisions that will bring them closer to the happiness powers over time. In summary, the research has shown that we could push ourselves into a state of happiness by better controlling our thoughts and feelings.
Even if you were born an Eeyore, you could learn to shift your thinking toward the Tigger outlook. You can modify the perspective through which you see the world. You can change the attitude that you have when confronted with unpleasantries. You can teach yourself to look on the bright side of things, and in doing so, improve your happiness power.
Doesn't Money Bring Happiness?
For centuries, conventional thinking was that money bought happiness. After all, if you had money, you were not worried about meeting your needs. However, recent studies have determined that money does not influence happiness very much. In a recent study, the Nobel laureate psychologist and economist Daniel Kahneman demonstrated that money increases happiness by about $75,000 annually. After reaching that income level, emotional well-being no longer improves with income.
What is it that creates happiness (if it is not money)? If the ability to buy anything that you want on a whim is not happiness, then what is? Researchers have found that we are happier when we live fulfilling lives. Material wealth does not bring us fulfillment. What does, however, is the idea of "connection." Connection to people, that genuine connection that is fostered over time and endures through the years, brings us real, long-lasting pleasure. (I will address this point in Chapter 7.). Dr. Robert Waldinger, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard Study of Adult Development Director, spoke in a viral 2015 TED Talk that "good relationships keep us happier and healthier." The Harvard study is one of the world's most extensive adult life studies, starting in 1938 during the Great Depression. An essential finding of this study indicates that spending time with other people made study subjects happier on a day-to-day basis. For example, time with a partner or spouse minimized the mood dips that accompany aging's physical pains and illnesses.
Hedonism Leads to Happiness. Katharina Bernecker, a researcher in motivational psychology at the University of Zurich, found in a 2020 study that enjoying short-term, pleasurable activities that do not lead to long-term goals contributes as much to a happy life as self-control. This research from both the University of Zurich and Radboud University in the Netherlands suggests that people's capacity to experience pleasure or enjoyment contributes at least as much to a happy and satisfied life as successful self-control.
According to Bernecker, "Our research shows that both are important and can complement each other in achieving well-being and good health. It is important to find the right balance in everyday life." Bernecker argues for a greater acceptance of hedonism in psychology.
A Busy Mind Is a Happy Mind. A Harvard study revealed that stray thoughts and wandering minds are causally related to unhappiness. The study proved that those with continually wandering minds were less likely to be happy than those able to focus on the task. The study confirms what Buddhists have long taught: An unruly mind creates unhappiness and dysfunction.
Before we continue, it is essential to note that you do not have to be happy all the time to benefit from happiness. Happiness is not constant; it is cyclical. Happiness is broad and resilient, and the happiest people still experience negative feelings.
Neurochemicals of Happiness
Many of us agree that the human brain is a fantastic creation. From the day you are born, it functions around the clock. It only halts when you are about to take a test or attempt to speak to someone attractive. In Christopher Bergland’s The Athlete's Way: Sweat and the Biology of Bliss, the premise is we retain the power to make ourselves happier through physical and lifestyle changes. Our body produces hundreds of neurochemicals. Scientists have identified a number of these chemicals, but only a small fraction of the amount produced. Happiness is little more than impulses in the brain, caused by chemicals known as neurotransmitters.
Several of them are directly responsible for happiness and optimism. These are dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. All three play a significant role in the body and create an individual with a more positive outlook. When you feel happy, it resonates throughout your whole body. Your entire body is under the influence of the hormones that surge throughout it.
A gene called monoamine oxidase (MAOA) affects these happiness chemicals' levels in the brain and is responsible for fluctuating moods in both men and women. Although it comes in two variants, we all contain this gene—a highly active and a less active type. This gene establishes how the brain processes dopamine and serotonin, chemicals responsible for making us smile.
According to a study from the University of South Florida, researchers have found a link between the MAOA gene and a woman's likeliness to report happiness. The researchers asked 350 men and women how happy they were and gave a saliva sample to test their DNA. The researchers found that 59 percent of the women had one copy of the less active gene, and a lucky 17 percent had two[PRS1] . They found that women with the less active type of gene were happier than others, and those with two copies of the "happy" type of MAOA were happiest of all.
The study stopped short of determining that women are simply happier than men. That is because several studies have concluded the opposite is true. So, it is undecided. Happiness is subjective. For some, it is the fulfillment of creating. For others, it is joy or excitement. It is the culmination of all the good feelings, and it is something that people strive to reach.
Happiness Beyond Feeling Good
The power of happiness brings many more benefits than just feeling good. There is increasing evidence that happy people are healthier, more successful, and more socially engaged. Researchers Lyubomirsky, King, and Diener found that positive moods and emotions lead a happy person to behave in ways that help them construct their resources and capabilities, providing them with the ability to work toward their goals. Those qualities give them the power of success.
Researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that serotonin, the happiness brain chemical, protects people against serious gut infections. Though serotonin was thought to be produced in the brain, about 90 percent of it is manufactured in the gastrointestinal tract.
Dr. Vanessa Sperandio, the study leader and a professor of microbiology and biochemistry, stated that "Gut infections occur when pathogenic bacteria, or the 'bad' bacteria, make their way into the gastrointestinal tract." Because gut bacteria are affected by their environment, the study's authors wondered if serotonin levels in the gut affected the pathogenic bacteria. When the cells were exposed to the serotonin-weakened bacteria, that bacteria were no longer able to inflict "infection-associated lesions." The additional serotonin caused the bacteria to lose its ability to produce an infection. The conclusion is that happy people have power over stomach issues—happy stomachs.
Does Happiness Come Before or After Success is Achieved?
Here is a "happy" surprise. There is growing evidence that happiness often comes before successful outcomes, rather than following it because of successful outcomes. In other words, conventional thought was that success makes people happy. Researchers Julia Boehm and Sonja Lyubomirsky at the University of California in Riverside had thought about this, too. Their study found evidence that it was happiness that led to success in many instances. That may be because researchers have found that happy workers have significant power over their less happy colleagues. They have found that happy people are more likely to obtain job interviews and show higher performance and productivity. As a result, they receive more positive evaluations and are better at handling managerial jobs. As the research implies, if positivity and success are linked, it becomes something that everyone wants to achieve.
Advantages of Happiness at Work
Some of the more essential benefits that happiness power provides you in the workplace include:
Better Decision-Making and Creative Problem Solving. A 2019 study by Brockis found that happiness at work provides benefits to those who experience it by the brain's changes and how it operates and thinks more efficiently. When you are happier, you avoid negative thoughts and issues that add stress to your life. Happiness allows you more room to think about how to deal with daily challenges positively.
Improved Individual and Team Productivity. In a 2015 study by Sgroi at the University of Warwick, happier employees were 12 percent more productive, and unhappy employees were 10 percent less productive.
Better Customer Service Satisfaction. A 2017 Gallup study showed that happier workers were more engaged. It resulted in better customer relationships, with a 20 percent sales increase.
More Earning Power. Another work-study conducted in 2016 by Tang found that life satisfaction feelings links to higher salaries; however, this varied between male and female employees. The study concluded that it was hard to determine whether having a higher salary led to greater life satisfaction because of having fewer financial stressors.
Our Power Over Ourselves
We are born with a desire to achieve happiness. Research suggests 50 percent of the way we filter the world is through genetics. However, 30–40 percent of our ability to make ourselves happy comes from our selection of activities—those things that we do within ourselves—our thoughts and behaviors.
We are continually working in a cycle of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It is a concept that heavily influences many psychotherapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy[PRS1] : You are creating your environment based on how you act. We all crave happiness. It is obtained by learning how to interact with ourselves and how to make better choices.
Consider this example for a moment. Imagine that you sat down to take a test at school. You look down at the test paper and think that it is going to be hard. You heard from people who took the test earlier that it is incredibly tricky and tough to get through the whole thing. That thought makes you feel nervous. You are afraid that you are not going to do well. Those nerves and feelings put you on high alert, and your body naturally shifts into what is known as the fight or flight response. Your body thinks that there is a threat, and you are, in a sense, if you consider getting a bad grade to be a danger to your well-being.
As you take the test, you are not in your best frame of mind. You are struggling to keep your mind clear, and then, when it matters the most, you choke. You do not get the questions right because you are too nervous to answer them. As a result, you find that you cannot focus effectively. When you get the score back a week later, you discover that you did as poorly as you feared. When that happens, you have now justified that you were right to be afraid. You created a self-fulfilling prophecy!
The problem is that you have just effectively worried yourself into a trap. You have confirmed that worrying about your test was right, and next time, you will suffer even more. That is the power of this cycle, which applies to just about any similar situation. You can put it into the context of thinking about your positive emotions. You can choose to start with positive thoughts to create positive feelings, which, in turn, create positive behaviors. Think about the potential for a moment. If you need a positive boost, you can learn to talk to yourself more optimistically. When you do this enough, you repair many of your issues by substituting them with a positive approach. You can stop looking at the world like Eeyore and take the Tigger approach by shifting your thought perspective.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and the Manifestation of Happiness
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation" in Psychological Review. It is a theory in which you discover your needs and how those needs influence your happiness. You satisfy these needs sequentially. The approach comprises five tiers of achievements to reach your goal and source of happiness. As you achieve them, you gain more fulfillment.
Let's go over this hierarchy briefly to understand our needs and how they lead us to our happy place. The needs consist of two categories: deficiency needs and growth needs. The first four needs on this list are the deficiency needs; caused by deprivation. (We need it because we do not have enough of it.) We are motivated to fulfill those needs to succeed, and the more deficient you are in these needs, the more you are compelled to meet them. Growth needs, on the other hand, are those on which you want to build. These are needs to help you feel fulfilled. They are the needs that bring you happiness when you pursue them. (You do not pursue these needs because you do not have enough. You seek them because you want them. You want to grow. You want to be more fulfilled.)
According to Maslow, you must satisfy your lower-tier needs before you move up to the higher tiers. He created his hierarchy in the form of a pyramid. The most basic needs are on the bottom, and the rest follow upwards toward self-actualization at the peak.
Physiological Needs. The first category consists of physiological needs. These are the needs that you must meet if you want to survive. If you cannot reach them, the body does not function properly, and, therefore, these are the most important. You cannot be happy if you deprive yourself of these needs. They are food, water, shelter, warmth, sleep, clothing, sex, and other physical needs. These needs will always come out ahead of the others. If you have needs for anything else, these will come first. Safety Needs. Next comes a need for safety and security. When you are physically satisfied, your next desire is for security. It comes in a variety of forms, for example, seeking financial security through employment. There are different approaches to satisfying the sense of security. As another example, you want to feel secure and in control of your surroundings and your life. It is where you start to see the influence of money diminish.
Love and Belonging Needs. After you meet safety needs, the need to belong follows. You seek out the feeling of belonging with those around you. You want to feel like no matter what you do, you connect to the people you love and care about. To accomplish this, you must be able to establish those bonds further. You are social by nature, and you naturally seek out some type of connection to those around you. The need to feel these connections to people motivates you to find others who are like-minded.
When you meet these needs, you are fostering your sense of friendship and intimacy. You are looking for affiliations, community, and love. You are looking for acceptance for who you are without any strings attached, and if you can get that, you are highly satisfied.
Esteem Needs. The fourth level on the hierarchy has two parts: esteem for oneself and esteem from others. Effectively, you need to provide yourself with the feeling of fulfillment by achievement. You need to feel like you are working toward mastering something that may be bigger than yourself. You need to feel like other people respect you as well. You seek prestige and status. You need to feel like other people respect you and your efforts.
Self-Actualization Needs. Finally, the last need, according to Maslow, is the need for self-actualization. It is the need to become the best that you can be. It is that desire to figure out what you can do to ensure that you are on the right track and better yourself. Self-actualization is effectively self-fulfillment. It is attempting to grow as a person, to accomplish everything that you can. It is where you start to get real, genuine happiness from what you are doing in life.
The Expansions to the Hierarchy of Needs
In the 1960s and 70s, Maslow began to add to his pyramid. He expanded the top half after studying what it was that self-actualizing people wanted. Maslow looked at what kept people motivated as they were achieving their self-actualization. He used that information as the basis of these last three premises of happiness.
The first premise is cognitive needs. It is the need to begin to understand and learn about the world. It is the need to explore, to find meaning and patterns in the environment around you. It is a need to have that innate understanding of the world.
Next comes the aesthetic need, the need for beauty. It is the appreciation that can come from looking at a beautiful painting or an expertly sculpted statue. This need to appreciate beauty in the world is a major one.
Finally, there is the need for transcendence. It is the understanding that we are motivated by values that are beyond ourselves. It is the idea to get beyond ourselves to experience being one with the world, seeking to experience kindness and altruism beyond ourselves. It is the need to be beyond ourselves and to reach out to everyone else around us.
Seligman's Elements of Happiness
Seligman began with a study of learned helplessness in dogs. Seligman noticed that some dogs would never actually quit when they were pursuing something. They would stubbornly stick right to it while other dogs would learn to become helpless. He drew inspiration from this, seeing parallels between people who grew depressed and helpless in their own lives.
This observation further inspired and motivated him. He realized a few key things: We can experience three different types of happiness that have separate meanings and contexts. We can experience:
· Pleasure and gratification
· Embodiment of strengths and virtues
· Meaning and purpose
His studies defined three types of lives that you can live: the pleasant life, the good life, and the meaningful life.
The Pleasant Life. The pleasant life understands emotions. It requires you to sit back and think about the past so that you can learn from it, thinking constructively. It also requires you to build optimism and look toward the future.
Studies have shown that happiness comes from developing a more positive outlook. It goes right back to the cycle of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors—the more positively you think, the better the results.
Positive emotions are associated with positive outcomes. While it may be easy to assume that happiness will create positive emotions, Seligman points out that positive emotions create happiness. With positive happiness follows.
The Good Life. According to Seligman, the good life builds on six virtues and twenty-four strengths. These counter many psychological disorders, and Seligman believes that they are the key to becoming a resilient individual. During a study with Dr. Christopher Petersen, an expert on hope and optimism, Seligman looked to create a classification system. They chose to use good character to measure efficacy because it repeatedly and strongly links to happiness.
They discovered that in nearly every culture, there are six core virtues. These six virtues became the stepping point for Seligman and his work. These six virtues are:
· Wisdom and knowledge
· Love and humanity
· Spirituality and transcendence
Alongside those values are several strengths, which are the methods used to achieve our virtues. They are moral traits that can be created, developed, and built over time. They are different from talents, which are typically inherited. The identified strengths are essential to living a good life. It is essential to utilize these signature strengths to bring about authentic happiness and gratification during this life. The good life is one of happiness, good relationships, and work.
The Meaningful Life. While researching happiness, Seligman concluded that there are no shortcuts to happiness. To create positive emotion without moral integrity and character is an attempt to create something dishonest and inauthentic. A pleasant life may bring with it a more positive outlook, but it is not complete happiness. The good life is the same. It applies happiness through virtues to create a bigger picture, but there is still more. It becomes essential to work on meaning and flow to create a greater sense of happiness.
Happiness is a marathon. It is not something that you build or cultivate just because you have money or are attractive. It is not attained by having children or finding an ostensibly better-paying career. Happiness develops when you are working on something bigger than yourself. It is attained slowly, little by little, as you build yourself up. It develops as you develop your altruism. You find happiness by committing to people and positivity, by working to better yourself and find real meaning in your life.
Sounds excellent, daunting, and confusing all at once, right? It is, and that is part of the appeal. Happiness—real happiness—is not something that you can just buy or force. You must earn it. You must build it, fostering it bit by bit, step by step, until you know that you are in a position where you are making that progress that you were looking for.
In this chapter, we discovered the importance of happiness and found that it is a powerful emotion. The nation's founders thought the right to happiness is so vital that they memorialized it in the Declaration of Independence, along with "life" and "liberty." The emotion of happiness is so strong that it can impact your cardiovascular system and other vital body systems. We listed its fifty powers, which influence our physical, health, mental, workplace, and social being. We discussed a few of the hundreds of academic studies that support these powers.
We examined the age-old question, "Does money buy happiness?" The answer was surprising. The studies have found that we are happier when we live fulfilling lives. Material wealth does not bring us fulfillment. A Harvard study determined that good relationships keep us happier and healthier. A University of Zurich study found people's capacity to experience pleasure or enjoyment contributes at least as much to happiness.
We looked at the causes of happiness in the brain: the three happiness chemicals, namely dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. The "smile" gene known as MAOA regulates this. Martin Seligman's experiments showed that there are three types of happiness. He also hypothesized that there are three types of lives that you can live: the pleasant life, the good life, and the meaningful life.
We have some unanswered questions to pursue. If happiness is so powerful, how exactly does it affect our physical health? What do exercise and nutrition have to do with our happiness?
So, put on a big, happy smile and turn that page to continue our exciting adventure!