According to Happy, a documentary from director Roko Belic, only TEN PERCENT of your happiness is dependent on your career, income and living situation. Can you believe that?
Fifty percent of your happiness? Genetics. Most people are born with an innate range of happiness that, no matter what things, good OR bad, happen to them, they will likely remain in that range throughout their lives.
But what truly stuck out to me was that other forty percent. The amount that is dependent on things you intentionally do to be happy. Because this percentage? This percentage is ours. We own it. We control it. We say who, what, where, why and when we spend that forty percent.
Two years ago, I was spending that 40% doing one thing: complaining. Well, not just complaining. I was also crying, whining, fighting and being jealous. So there’s that.
Without seeing this documentary, I figured out, the hard way, that things needed to change, and I needed to be the one to change them. Here are the things I now do intentionally, every day, to inspire creativity, happiness, contentment and security into my life:
Gabe and Grace They’re six and four and if a month goes by without seeing them, my life is significantly less meaningful. I call their mom every two weeks, compare schedules and make time to go over their house after work for dinner, take them out for the day or simply give their parents a night out, unpaid, just because after those two or three hours together, I feel more love, acceptance, understanding and happiness than anywhere else.
Reading Whether it’s one book every two months, or three books in one month, I’m always reading something. Sometimes slowly and leisurely, sometimes with page-turning, please don’t talk to me right now aggression, but when I’m not invested, just a little bit, in a story unlike my own, I’m a little lost. For me, this replaces following TV shows. Unless Downton Abbey is back, then also, don’t talk to me.
Writing It’s here, in the pages of this blog, my stories, my words, my life, that I find so much peace. Before I started this blog, I had my head, and before that, I had journals, but it wasn’t until I started sharing my writing that I became a much more secure person. I always say that it’s the most vulnerable part of my life, being so honest with strangers, and family, and myself, but it’s also the most fulfilling thing to write something down and to hear just one person say, “I get it. I’m there. Thank you for this.”
Artistic Expression It comes in the form rearranging the things on the top of my bureau, putting together an outfit, photography or redesigning a room, but visual stimulation is so important to my happiness. It’s not on a canvas, but it feels artistic to me.
Together If you and I are friends, you’ve heard from me. Recently. I don’t lose touch, I don’t give up on friendship and I rarely break plans. While life, and distance, and everything else, makes this togetherness difficult, I don’t care. I like to be together. I like to talk, and laugh and make people laugh and hear people’s stories in person. So ya, I may try too hard sometimes, and I may reach out more often, but I’ve accepted that’s who I am, that’s what I need, and that’s where my happiness lies.
Wellness It may come in the form of a once weekly fitness class, or a long day of cooking from scratch, or maybe it’s just going to bed on time every night. But wellness is good to me and I try to invite it over as often as I can. I feel best when I haven’t drank alcohol or stayed up late or eaten processed food, so I try, often, to work my life around wellness.
So how are you living with intention? What fills up your forty percent? Haven’t heard about the Happy movement? Go here.