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Hints for Happiness
Experts who study what makes people more likely to be happy find that 50 percent of how happy you are is determined by your genes, and 10 percent is determined by circumstances over which you have little or no control.
That leaves 40 percent that you can do something about. And, according to nbc.com, these are some of the things you can do to make yourself happier:
Work on your relationships. Having deep and close relationships can have a profound impact on your happiness, so do all you can to nurture those relationships – whether they are with family, friends, romantic partners or colleagues.
Don’t expect a specific thing to make you happy. Don’t tell yourself that you will be happy when you get a promotion or fall in love or have kids or retire. Even if those things happen for you, they only will make you happy for a short time.
Money is not the key. Research shows that once you make more than about $75,000 a year, the amount of money you have has a minimal impact on how happy you are. Being poor can make you stressed and therefore unhappy. But being rich will not make you happy.
Follow your passions. Ask yourself what you would do if you could do anything. Would you play music, write, volunteer, travel, work out? Then try to do more of that in your life.
Be nice. Doing nice things for others tends to make you feel happier. This can range from donating money to a cause you believe in, to volunteering, to talking to the person next to you in line. Random acts of kindness are very effective at boosting your mood, so try to do them as often as possible.
Do work you like. If you are stuck in a job you hate, that probably makes you less happy. But doing work – paid or unpaid -- that you enjoy and that you feel you are good at can make you happier. It helps to give meaning and structure to your life.
Live in a happy place. Some cities routinely score higher on measures of happiness than others. Among those are Naples, Fla.; Boulder, Colo.; and Provo, Utah. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, Denmark is often named as the happiest country in the world.
Find meaning. People are happier when they do things that they consider to be important. That can be raising a family, starting a business, being a good friend or spouse, being active in a religious organization. The important thing is that it is something that you commit to over time and that you find helps to define you in a positive way.
Get outside. Being outside reduces stress and increases happiness, especially if you are outside in nature. Take a walk in the woods, or sit on the bank of a lake. Contemplate the universe.