I believe we are destined to find a path of well-being and happiness for ourselves while we inhabit this Earth. I also know that this path is unique for each one, and that it might be slow and tortuous sometimes, but it doesn’t need to be. Research during the last fifteen years has established that 50% of our happiness is determined by biology/genetics, 10% by our life circumstances, and an amazing 40% by our intentional activity. If we reflect on these numbers, it’s easy to get to a very optimistic conclusion: There’s so much we can do to enhance our mental, spiritual, and physical well-being. There are so many things we can learn to try to live a more compassionate, meaningful life, and thus contribute to build a more kind and joyful world for others as well.
After a few years following what I call my path, I found in 2018 a wonderfully fulfilling course called The Science of Happiness. Happiness is more than just the increased levels of hormones that create positive emotion; it involves how we behave and choose to act to achieve well-being. The relatively new field of research that explores how people increase their satisfaction and meaning leading to happiness is called Positive Psychology.
I intend to share in this first Blog Series: The Science of Happiness, some of the powerful insights on well-being and happiness that I learned in the course a couple of years ago, supported by the strong scientific evidence that is currently available on the matter. All the credit for the essays that I will mention in the following posts of the series belongs to the Greater Good Science Center from the University of California, Berkeley, and many of the studies can be found at the Greater Good Magazine. I will add links to this institution and its partner researchers as much as possible, as a way to enable you to find more information directly if you wish to do so.
To make this first Blog Series digestible, I’ve divided it into ten posts beginning by this very first one on the why and the what of the series, and then the rest following a cumulative and logical order:
- Post 1: The Why and the What of This First Blog Series
- Post 2: What Is Happiness and Why Does It Matter
- Post 3: Social Connections: The Role of Oxytocin and the Vagus Nerve
- Post 4: Compassion and Kindness Are in Our Biology
- Post 5: The Importance of Cooperation and Reconciliation
- Post 6: From Gratitude to Happiness
- Post 7: Why Self-compassion Drives Resilience
- Post 8: Mindfulness and Meditation Go a Long Way
- Post 9: Three Essentials: Awe, Wonder, and Beauty
- Post 10: Let’s Laugh and Play
By the end of the series, I will summarize what has been said, adding practical tips and exercises to cultivate more happiness and well-being in our lives.
My hope is that somewhere between these lines you may find inspiration and knowledge that might help you in your path to happiness, as they continually help me in mine.