Do you ever look at your dog (or a friend’s dog, or a dog at the park) and think He looks so happy. I want to come back as a content dog in my next life! With all the research and studies being done on the science of happiness lately, you don’t need to wait until you’re next life. You can be happy right now.
Today I watched a documentary titled, simply enough, Happy. This 2011 film is directed by Roko Belic and follows happy people all over the world to find out what makes them so gosh darn happy. It’s an inspiring, feel good watch and I’ve jotted down the 10 key points of this film to help you get started.
1. 50% of our happiness levels are determined by our genes. This is called our genetic setpoint.
“Most of us are born with a certain range of happiness that we fall in most of the time.” -Sonja Lyubamirsky, PhD. Professor of Psychology at UC Riverside
The rest of the pie has to do with circumstances (job, social status, age, etc.) and intentional activity (aka what you do). The great part about the intentional activity is that you get to choose what that is. You can change your actions.
2. From your teenage years onward, you’re slowly losing dopamine synapses and dopamine neurons.
So you better use it or lose it – in this way, the brain is similar to any muscle in your body. Find experiences that release dopamine, the neurotransmitter in the brain that is responsible for feelings of pleasure and happiness. The best way to do that is through physical activity. Studies show that aerobic exercise is the best releaser of dopamine, especially if you do it in novel ways. Examples: exploring outdoors, playing sports, or just playing in general.