Factors Which Contribute to Happiness


by Jayaram V

Your happiness depends upon many factors. Some of them are under your control, while some are not. Hence there are limitation on what you can or cannot do about your happiness. Everyone is predisposed to happiness. However, all people do not experience happiness alike. Some are more prone to happiness than others as they more positively interpret their experiences and interactions. Studies in human happiness suggest that the following intrinsic and extrinsic factors may have a bearing upon our happiness in different degrees.

1. Genetic factors: We have already discussed that people are born with a set level of happiness, which cannot be changed except temporarily. Some emotional traits are inborn and happiness may be genetically determined in some respects.

2. Health: There seems to be definite correlation between health and happiness. Healthier people are happy and happy people are healthier. Studies also show that people who experience positive emotions frequently require fewer hospitalizations and are less prone to stroke and heart attacks.

3. Social life: As stated already, there is a significant correlation between happiness and eventful social life. Happy people are more likeable. Hence they tend to have successful friendships, happy marriage life, positive relationships, better social engagement and better interpersonal skills. Happy people have better chances of getting married quickly than unhappy people. Studies also show that supportive relationships contribute to greater happiness.

4. Work life: Happier people are more likely to have better jobs and succeed better than unhappy people. The nature of one's work also determines the level of happiness. Those who are engaged in satisfying jobs experience positive emotions compared to those who do not like their jobs. Autonomy, freedom to make decisions and sense of control greatly increase work related happiness.

5. Social and Demographic factors: Factors such as age, gender and ethnicity influence our happiness, but their impact seems to be limited. In the initial stages, old age may begin to bother us as we notice the decrease in our energy and enthusiasm levels. However, as we grow older we may learn to accept the inevitable and cope with it. Similarly social and income statuses also influence our happiness levels to some extent.

6. Money: Money seems to make people happy but only so long as they are motivated by the lure of money. At some point in our earning spree, money becomes secondary as the burden of managing it becomes more troublesome than keeping it and enjoying it. Studies show that in case of money, perceptions influence our happiness more than the money itself. Thus a person of average income who believes she has sufficient money is more likely happier than a person with better income status but believes his financial status is not good enough.

7. Attitude: Our thoughts, beliefs, expectations and attitudes have a direct bearing upon our happiness and well being. Happier people are more optimistic and more willing to push themselves and take their chances without feeling defeated or rejected. They learn from their experiences and adapt better to situations, balancing their expectations with pragmatism.

8. Sense of control: If you feel you are helpless, restricted and limited by people and circumstances you are not going to feel happier. Happiness comes from the sense of autonomy, freedom to make decisions, sense of control and freedom to mold your life according to your dreams and desires. Those who have the freedom to make decisions for themselves are generally happier than those who have to depend upon others to make decisions for themselves.

9. Success: In theory success seems to make people happy and happy people tend to be more successful. However, success brings in its own wake additional problems which may limit one's ability to enjoy success or experience happiness on a lasting basis.

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