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The How of Happiness

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The How of Happiness

A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Unhappy? Take a scientific approach and get happy. You’ll be happy to know it works

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Editorial Rating



  • Scientific
  • Applicable
  • Well Structured


Singer Bobby McFerrin had a monster hit in 1988 entitled Don't Worry, Be Happy. The hypnotically perky, happy song hopped its way across the globe, magically lifting the spirits of listeners everywhere. The lyrics say: “In your life expect some trouble / When you worry you make it double / Don’t worry, be happy / Be happy now.” If only happiness were that easy to achieve. Indeed, happiness requires considerable focus and effort, but psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky promises that it is eminently achievable, even for the galactically unhappy. She outlines some proven psychological stratagems and explains why they work, if you put in the effort. Just be aware of and implement specific mood-lifting techniques to improve the level of happiness in your life. Whether or not you cheer up when you hear McFerrin’s catchy tune, getAbstract suggests giving Lyubomirsky’s scientific happiness-inducing techniques a shot. Don’t worry, be happy: They just might work.


You Can Be Happy

Don’t be one of those people who believe they are destined to be unhappy. Reorganize your thinking and guess what? You can be happy, even if you aren’t wealthy, thin, beautiful, admired by your peers or a lottery winner. External circumstances don’t determine true happiness. What counts is your attitude toward life. If you’re positive, you are likely to be happy. If you’re negative, you’ll probably be unhappy.

Genes have much to do with happiness. Some people are born with high happiness “set points.” These markers are similar to diet set points: Some people can eat a ton of food and not gain a pound, while others seem to put on weight just by entering the kitchen. Similarly, people with high happiness set points naturally feel more satisfied than others and more content – happier – with their lives and the world around them.

You can’t change your genes. If you are unlucky and have a relatively low happiness set point, you will tend to feel unhappy rather than happy. But research indicates that people’s set points account for only 50% of their overall happiness. Another 10% is determined by life circumstances – being rich or poor, healthy or...

About the Author

Sonja Lyubomirsky is a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, and winner of the Templeton Positive Psychology Prize.

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    R. N. 4 years ago
    Very well covered in book summary. Happiness starts with self thoughts, planning and actions the way we perceive our needs and pass through circumstances in life.
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    C. V. 7 years ago
    Great lists of habits. Will definitely implement
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    J. G. 1 decade ago
    A very interesting summary. Happiness, as most things in life, requires a process and not a magic trick, This Summary engage and encourage yourself to search within yourself what you need to be happy. It's not a Houdini scene, it's just a matter of wishing, trying and be totally convinced that happiness it's in the front of your mirror.

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