Courtesy of jaywillis1
Routine and day to day tasks are habitual and can become mundane. Life can become stale, filled with boredom and monotony. You wonder what you have to look forward to when everything is the same.
Life can be different. New research in happiness shows that our current circumstances can have a routine and mundane aspect to it, as we become habituated and adapt to day to day life. However, what increases happiness is the ability to engage in an intentional activity. In other words, when you engage in tasks that change your life, you might feel recharged and energized. When you take action or have variety in your life, things can be less mundane and fresh.
Well-being tends to be connected to factors such as demographics, personality traits, attitudes, and the types of goals you have. The following research explains in more detail how you can increase happiness.
Lyubormirsky, S, Sheldon, K, & Schkade, D (2005) in Pursuing Happiness: The Architecture of Sustainable Change state that happiness and optimism are linked to applying virtues such as gratitude, forgiveness, and thoughtful self-reflection. Furthermore, motivational and attitudinal factors such as successfully applying life goals that are personally motivated and match a person’s interests and values tend to increase well-being. They also stated that it’s important to avoid comparing yourself to others, look at life optimistically, and feel a sense of efficacy regarding your life.
What determines Happiness?
The above researchers further reported three main factors that create ongoing happiness, and these include set point, life circumstances, and intentional activity.
- Set point – Research shows that genetics apply to about 50% on happiness level. It is therefore stable over time.
- Life circumstances – These are the stable aspects of your life such as your residential status, age, gender, ethnicity, trauma experiences, losses etc. Circumstances apply to approximately 10% on happiness level. However, this happiness level can increase if you take control over your life situation. For instance, someone who is divorced might marry again or you might shift house. Although, you tend to return to your happiness baseline once you’ve adapted to your life yet again. You do get a happiness boost but it may not last.
- Intentional Activity – This is the way you can act on your circumstances or engage in a range of daily tasks or action. Research does show that this is the factor that influences happiness at a sustainable level. Research over a long period involving students who were asked to apply goals over a semester showed that significant levels of progressing towards goals lead to greater well-being. Students could also maintain their higher level of happiness if they kept on doing well with their goals during the second semester.
In regards to intentional activity around life circumstances, you tend to habituate, thus reducing happiness yet again. However, when you engage in ongoing activity to pursue goals, happiness tends to last. It is deemed that people adapt less to new activities than to new circumstances, thereby maintaining happiness without the routine aspect.
Variety is the spice of life, and past research supports this phrase. Change is considered to be satisfying and stimulating. For instance, in life circumstances which can become routine or mundane, a married man can engage in intentional activity upon his marital status (life circumstance) by bringing his wife flowers or appreciating his wife’s positive traits. If the husband is not intentionally engaged in his marriage, the circumstance would become an adaptation and lead to routine without increasing happiness level.
Matching Activity to the Person
Extraverted people enjoy activities that bring them more in contact with people. Those with nurturing souls would benefit more from helping and caring for others. Research has shown this goal – person match in relation to happiness level. Furthermore, general activities can tend to be more generalised to the population, including activities involving connectedness, self=efficacy, or freedom and independence.
Recommendations for Increasing Happiness Level
Increasing happiness has been shown to be linked to pursuing and applying new activities to engage in, and which match the person’s values, needs, personality, and interests. You also need to make a habit out of initiating the task but also vary the way in which you engage in the activity (e.g. change the frequency or some other aspect). You might also not believe that a particular life circumstance will sustain happiness, such as buying a fancy house, as this then becomes routine and habituated. Although, you can engage in activities that alter your circumstances such as appreciating your fancy house, and then your circumstance may not be stable at all. Finally, it appears that goals and intentional activity can result in sustainable change.
Wellness Coaching and Intentional Activity
To conclude, happiness levels increase when goals are set and pursued. This is exactly what wellness coaches do. They help the client to create a vision based on their personality and needs, then set goals in line with their values, and give them accountability. This is a sure way to increase client happiness level. Would you like to give it a try with a FREE vision session? Check out my Services Page.