The How of Happiness Essay

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In the book, The How of Happiness, author and researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky sets her book apart from other self-awareness books by being the first to utilize empirical studies. She uses data gained through scientific method to provide support for her hypothesis. This hypothesis consists mainly of the idea that we have the ability to overcome genetic predisposition and circumstantial barriers to happiness by how we think and what we do. She emphasizes that being happier benefits ourselves, our family and our community. “The How of Happiness is science, and the happiness-increasing strategies that [she] and other social psychologists have developed are its key supporting players” (3).
Utilizing a pie chart, she illustrates the crux of her research; 10% of our happiness is increased or decreased by our circumstances. 50% of our happiness is increased or decreased by genetic predisposition, 40% is within our ability to control. We have “opportunities to increase or decrease our happiness levels through what we do and how we think” (22). She provides 12 specific happiness enhancing activities. She implores us to commit time, resources and energy to this “intentional activity”. Promoting these changes in our lives to accommodate being happier, which will benefit everyone in the end.
Through a series of assessment tools, she reveals the types of activities that we can commit to doing on a daily basis which will improve our level of happiness. She reinforces the numerous benefits of being happier. Happier people are more sociable and energetic, more charitable and cooperative, and better liked by others. Being happy boosts their immune systems, improves productivity, and can lead to a longer life. It allows them to be more creative and flexible in their thinking, better leaders and negotiators, and more resilient in the face of hardship. I will utilize scientific method to evaluate the effectiveness of her concepts on my own happiness.
The first step in the scientific method is to ask a question. How happy am I? Based on her Subjective Happiness Scale, my current level of happiness is 5.75. According to her research “college students tend to score lower (averaging a bit below 5) than working adults and older, retired people (who average 5.6)” (34). Despite the fact that I am considered significantly more happy than the average college student and more happy than the average person in general, I can become even happier.
The second step in the scientific method is background research. After completing her Person-Activity Fit Diagnostic, her research shows that the evidence-based happiness increasing strategy that will improve my happiness is “Savoring Life’s Joys: Paying close attention, taking delight, and replaying life’s momentary pleasures and wonders, through thinking, writing, drawing, or sharing with another” (75). Lyubomirsky claims that “we rarely seem to live in and savor the present moment, believing that what counts most will happen in...

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