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Cup of Copy: Happiness

Last week Cup of Copy focused on the idea of sharing and whether it is selfless or selfish. Now I am going to delve into an emotion that actually causes someone to share: happiness. Let’s look into this emotion to hopefully understand what effect, if any, content has on people’s happiness.

What is Happiness?

Happiness is a feeling characterized by well-being and contentment. It is a strong indicator of quality of life in many societies. The question is not how you describe happiness because it varies from individual to individual. The real question is what causes happiness and how to control that stimulate.

shutterstock_106507451What Really is Happiness?

Aside from the vernacular definition, happiness is a biological release of dopamine in your body. The odd fact about dopamine is that if you’re not finding ways to release it, over time you begin to lose the ability to release it in your body. So what does this mean? Basically if you don’t use it you will lose it.

What Makes You Happy?

If there was an easy answer to this, I probably would not be writing it for free. Determining what makes people happy is almost impossible to answer because it varies from individual to individual. However, there have been several studies done to show the breakdown of happiness:

  • 50% of your happiness comes from genetics : This means some people are blessed with a very optimistic perception and others not so much.
  • 10% comes from external circumstances- career, finances, health, relationships, etc. This is shocking to most because we condition ourselves to believe that happiness is contingent on social status or monetary success.
  • 40% of our happiness comes from our intentional activities. This means we have the ability to actually control our happiness. This is relatively new information and researchers are conducting studies to determine exactly what activities produce the highest sustainable happiness. One thing is certain: Happiness is not based on stature.
  • People who are happy live longer.
  • People’s range of happiness does not last during very positive situations and overly negative ones. This means when you experience a huge accomplishment like winning a championship, the happiness does not last for a long period of time.

shutterstock_116218768What Does this Mean?

Happiness is an enigma of sorts because some people are naturally happier than others. However, the interesting notion is that a person can actively take steps to improve their overall happiness:

  • Exercise: physical activity is the easiest way to intentionally release dopamine in your body.
  • Find a passion: it has been proven that people release a high dose of dopamine when they participate in an activity that they are highly invested in. Whether this is fishing, writing, cooking, or any other activity that you truly care about.
  • Interact with others: People active in a community atmosphere are naturally happier.
  • Goodwill: It has been scientifically proven that doing one act of a kindness a day will increase your happiness exponentially.

What is the Relationship to Content?

As previously mentioned, extraneous circumstances play a very small part in a person’s overall happiness (10%). Essentially, when someone sees a piece of content that makes them happy, it is for a relatively short period of time.

However, the content itself may provide the reader with a call for action that could result in long-term happiness. It has the ability to spark a desire for self-actualization or more knowledge, which helps to create a passion. Content is much more than the words or images on the page.

shutterstock_104104790Interacting with others and goodwill are strong promoters of dopamine release. Sharing quality content and commenting on other pieces are active steps you can take to generate sustainable happiness. Sharing content with other people creates a community involvement and gives you an immediate feeling of happiness. In addition, positive comments are small acts of kindness that will improve you and the content creator’s overall happiness.  Sharing is caring.

Happiness is a combination of genetics, circumstances, and active measures. We need not waste our time trying to purchase this emotion, nor should we expect to sustain it by achieving one momentous achievement. 40% of our happiness is controllable and if we take active steps (commenting and sharing content) to promote happiness we can be happier.  So feel free to start your new road to happiness today by sharing or commenting below.

About the author

Derek Miller