Stay Happy – Happiness is an electrifying and elusive state

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Philosophers, theologians, psychologists, and even economists have long sought to define it. And since the 1990s, a whole branch of psychology—positive psychology—has been dedicated to pinning it down. More than simply positive mood, happiness is a state of well-being that encompasses living a good life, one with a sense of meaning and deep contentment.

Happiness is not the result of bouncing from one joy to the next; researchers find that achieving happiness typically involves times of considerable discomfort. Genetic makeup, life circumstances, achievements, marital status, social relationships, even your neighbors—all influence how happy you are. Or can be. So do individual ways of thinking and expressing feelings. Research shows that much of happiness is under personal control.

Two key components of happiness (or subjective well-being) are:

-The balance of emotions: Everyone experiences both positive and negative emotions, feelings, and moods. Happiness is generally linked to experiencing more positive feelings than negative.

-Life satisfaction: This relates to how satisfied you feel with different areas of your life including your relationships, work, achievements, and other things that you consider important.

Some types of happiness that may fall under these three main categories include: Joy, Excitement, Gratitude, Pride, Optimism, Contentment.

Some people seem to have a naturally higher baseline for happiness—one large-scale study of more than 2,000 twins suggested that around 50% of overall life satisfaction was due to genetics, 10% to external events, and 40% to individual activities.

Health and happiness are completely intertwined. That’s not to say that people with illnesses can’t be happy, but that attending to one’s health is an important—and perhaps underappreciated—component of well-being.

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