The Habits Of Happy People. Is It All About Perspective?

By Danielle Braff
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Gretchen Rubin, author of “Better Than Before” and “Happier at Home,” says that about 50 percent of happiness is genetically determined. She adds, the next 10 to 20 percent of happiness results from life circumstances: age, marital status, income and education. That remaining 30 to 40 percent? It’s all you.

CHICAGO

Megan Novotney was shocked to be pregnant six months after giving birth to triplets.

The Chicago-area stay-at-home mother had a choice: She could wallow in the fact that her life had become an endless cycle of diapers and bottles, or she could do something to try to make herself a little happier.

“You lose yourself as a person once they arrive,” Novotney said. “Now, I’m able to put myself first, and it makes me a better mom, and better teacher, a better wife. When the plane is going down, you put your own mask on first.”

You can choose to be happy or you can choose to be unhappy, and that choice is up to you, said Gretchen Rubin, author of “Better Than Before” and “Happier at Home,” and host of the podcast “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.”

About 50 percent of happiness is genetically determined, so some people will naturally be happier than others, Rubin said. The next 10 to 20 percent of happiness results from life circumstances: age, marital status, income and education, Rubin said, estimating her percentages based on multiple studies by University of California researchers. That remaining 30 to 40 percent? It’s all you.

She said we each have a range set, from one to 10, with 10 being the happiest.

“You might be four to seven, and someone else might be seven to 10,” Rubin said. “Even when they’re blue, they might not be so blue, but you can always be lifted to the top of your range.”

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