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Lyubomirsky (2007). The How of Happiness

Lyubomirsky, Sonja (2007). The How of Happiness. London: Sphere.

Based on years of research about happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky concludes that:

  • 60% of differences in (personally experienced) happiness are due to external and genetic circumstances
  • 40% of happiness can be explained by specific thinking and behaviour patterns.

So the good thing is: almost half or your well-being can be somehow influenced, and the other half of it just asks for acceptance. It will be useful to teach yourself to think and live in ways that make most people happy. What are these patterns in thinking and behaviour that seem to make people happier?

“Below is a sample of my observations, as well as those of other researchers, of the thinking and behaviour patters of the happiest participants in our studies.

  • They devote a great amount of time to their family and friends, nurturing and enjoying those relationships.
  • They are comfortable expressing gratitude for all they have.
  • They are often the first to offer a helping hand to co-workers and passers-by.
  • They practice optimism when imagining their futures.
  • They savour life’s pleasures and try to live in the present moment.
  • They make physical exercise a weekly – and sometimes daily – habit.
  • They are deeply committed to life-long goals and ambitions (e.g., fighting fraud, building cabinets, or teaching their children their deeply held values).
  • And, last but not least, the happiest people do have their share of stress, crises and even tragedies. They may become just as distressed and emotional in such circumstances as you or I, but their secret weapon is the pose and strength they show in coping in the face of challenge.”[1]


  1. [1]Lyubormisky 2007: 23.
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