40% of your happiness is in your control

Happiness doesn't just happen to you, you make it happen! Did you know that there is an equation in positive psychology that tells us about 40% of our happiness is voluntary and in our control. About 50% of our happiness is based on things we canʼt control, such as our DNA, which influences our personality. The remaining 10% or so is influenced by life circumstances such as oneʼs marriage and job.  Itʼs in the 40% of voluntary happiness where positive psychology comes in and where WOOPAAH lives; we hope to be a vehicle for people to take off, one step at a time.

Despite having the capacity to make ourselves happy, weʼre not doing a very good job. While spending over $11 billion in 2008 on self-improvement books, CDs, seminars, coaching and stress-management programs (which was 13.6% more than they did back in 2005), the number of Americans taking antidepressants is still double what it was about a decade ago, from 13.3 million in 1996 to 27 million in 2005 (Gardner, 2009). Furthermore, the growth rate of our national life satisfaction as a nation has flat-lined (Diener & Diener, 1995).

I believe that one of the things that may stand in the way of so many Americans flourishing is the way they approach it: through their heads, and not their hearts. Even though Americans may be spending billions to learn the “how-toʼs” of happiness, knowing is one thing, but doing is another.

That's why we've got to play, to get surprised, to do something that enrolls us enough to distract our brains and grab our entire self into the process of positivity.

More on this to come!



Wanna learn more? References:

Diener, E. & Diener, M. (1995). Cross-cultural correlates of life satisfaction and self- esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 68:653-63.

Gardner, A. (2009, August). Antidepressants use in the U.S. has almost doubled. U.S. News & Wold Report: Health. Retrieved from http://health.usnews.com/

Seligman, M.E.P. (2002). Authentic happiness. New York: Free Press.