Written by: Patrick Mensah, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Imagine if the best scientists had created a machine that would make you happy with just the push of a button. You may have a million problems, but all those won’t affect you once you’ve pushed that button. The question is, would you push it?
A professor at UC, Berkeley, asked his students the same question and most of them said “No”. They wanted to seek happiness on their own.
Happiness and well-being are two of the most sought-after goals in life. But what do they really mean, and how can we achieve them?
As an entrepreneur, I know how challenging it can be to balance work and life, to cope with stress and uncertainty, and to find meaning and purpose in what I do. That’s why I decided to explore the science of happiness and well-being and share some insights and tips that might help you and me live better.
The science behind happiness
I had a very tough childhood, but I was always optimistic about my future. From my experience, happiness is not something we have or don’t have from birth. It is something that can change with time and situation.
The science of happiness, however, tells us that there are three major things that affect how happy we are – our genes, our circumstances, and our actions.
Genetics: Studies show that there is a natural level of happiness that we get from our parents. It makes up about 50% of our happiness variation. Some people are born with a sunny, cheerful, and strong personality. Others are not so lucky. But this does not mean that we can’t change our happiness.
Circumstances: These are the things that happen to us or around us, such as money, education, health, marriage, etc. It makes up about a tenth of how happy we are. You might think that these things matter a lot for our happiness, but they don’t. This is because we get used to them quickly and stop noticing them. For example, winning a lot of money might make us happy for a while, but soon we go back to how happy we were before.
Intentional activities: These are the things that we think, feel, do, value, and aim for in life. It makes up about 40% of how happy we are. These things are in our hands and can be changed by our own efforts.
Cultivating happiness and well-being in daily life
Contrary to popular belief, studies show that people who chase happiness by achieving goals are less happy than those who see happiness as a broader,quality-of-life concept. So here are some of the scientific methods that you and I can use to find or create our happiness.
Start your day with a positive intention
It starts the moment you wake up. The first thought you have must be positive. Take a moment to intentionally think about the positive things you’ll do today. You can talk to yourself about how productive and innovative you’ll be at work today, how you want to have fun and connect with your friends, or how you’ll be kind and helpful to everyone you meet today.
End your day with a positive reflection
Not all days go as planned, maybe you might have had a bad day, or maybe it was an “alright day”, but whatever the case, you should always end your day on a positive note. A positive reflection is a statement that summarizes what you achieved or experienced in your day.
For example, “Today I learned a new skill and applied it to my business.”, “Today I made a valuable connection and expanded my network.”, and if you didn’t manage to be as productive as you wanted to be, just say “Today I took a break and enjoyed some self-care or leisure time”.
Do something that you enjoy every day
Doing fun activities is an unmistakable way to be happier, but this should always be a small part of your day because such dopamine-enriching activities can prevent you from doing other important things. After some exhausting work, you can listen to your favorite music, read a good book, watch a funny show, play a game, or cook a delicious meal.
Do something that makes someone else happy every day
Making others happy has the biggest effect on making us happy. You can compliment a hard-working person, hug your friend, gift your loved ones, offer your help, support, or advice at work, and express your gratitude, appreciation, or love at home. It strengthens your relationships, empathy, and altruism.
Learn something new every day
You don’t have to spend the majority of your time learning, even half an hour a day is enough. It can be anything that expands your knowledge, skills, or perspectives, such as reading an article, watching a TED talk, taking an online course, etc. Learning something new every day encourages your curiosity and creativity.
Challenge yourself every day
This can be anything that makes you go out of your comfort zone, like trying something new, taking a risk, or facing a fear. Pushing yourself every day can make you happier and healthier by boosting your confidence, resilience, and success.
Some other proven ways to discover your happiness are to make strong relationships, be grateful for everything and everyone in your life, mindfulness and meditation, and show compassion to yourself in your most vulnerable times.
If I got a chance to restart my life, I would concentrate more on my happiness and well-being even at an earlier stage in my career. I believe that happiness and well-being are not only possible for anyone, but also essential for success and fulfillment.
As the famous psychologist Abraham Maslow once said,
“The story of the human race is the story of men and women selling themselves short.” Don’t sell yourself short. You deserve to be happy and well-off. And can totally make that happen!
What are you going to do today to increase your happiness and well-being?
Patrick Mensah, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Meet Patrick, a visionary entrepreneur who has turned his dreams into reality. Growing up in a fishing community in Ghana, Patrick learned the value of hard work at a young age, washing cars for older members of the community. This early experience instilled in him the discipline and work ethic that would become the foundation of his success. With over a decade of experience in building and partnering with successful businesses across the globe, Patrick is now the CEO of Wallstreet Investment, one of the fastest-growing companies in the UAE. His ability to lead, inspire and grow his team has been a key factor in his success.