I just watched a documentary on Netflix called, “Happy” and it is, without a doubt, a definite new favorite of mine. The film goes all around the world discussing research as well as specific cases on what makes people happy- and what does not. Although most people believe that having certain things will lead to happiness, it’s been shown that happiness in the moment is actually what leads to success in other areas of life. According to research, 50% of our basic happiness level is determined by genetics. Once basic needs of life are met, extreme positive or negative circumstances affect a persons happiness for only a short period of time until they return back to their genetic set point. Only a shocking 10% of our happiness is determined by what happens to us. This leaves another 40% unaccounted for, and that is our thoughts & actions in our active decision to feel happy, and that is what this documentary is all about.
So what makes people happy? Well, it’s not money, fame, or success by any external factors; that is, having a six-figure income, buying a bigger house and better car and life of luxury, or gaining recognition for society’s standards of greatness will leave you just about as happy as someone who had none of these things but was rich in internal joy. Of course everyone has individual needs that are specific to their desires, but generally speaking, the happiest people around the world all have these certain factors in common: they are grateful for what they have, they spend time in nature and take care of themselves, they have a flowing routine with slight daily changes, they work hard and play and live in the moment, and they have a community of close friends and family as well as some purpose of love and giving within their communities.
This documentary is definitely worth a watch and a wonderful reminder of the things that truly matter in life and bring you lasting joy. Lately, due to challenges in my journey to create a new life, I have been struggling to find the light and easy happiness that I usually possess. However, a brief reflection on this film served as the best reminder to think about what does make me happy. These things include having a spiritual connection with the universe in meditation, being strong in who I am and taking care of myself holistically, loving my family, friends & communities that I serve in my religion and career, having a sense of purpose and productivity in my daily routine, and making sure I give importance to laughter, relaxation, and exciting adventures as I do my best to live fully and deeply in each and every moment. I realized how much I already have, the negativity I can’t control that I must let go of, and what I actively need to add into my life- that is, a productive activity helping others, and some new friends- and both of these things easily fell into my lap today by the Grace of God.
My point is, we all ultimately want to be happy- I don’t know a single person for whom that is not the end goal- but feeling a connection to something greater than yourself and trusting that entirely, as well as taking some sort of action in dedicating your life to the happiness of others, seem to be the primary ways most human beings tend to do in order to create lasting peace and being happy. Below is a link to a compassion kindness meditation which has been proven to strengthen the synapses in your mind that create pleasure, and continued practice actually creates physiological changes inside the brain- check it out & comment below what makes you happy!