Can you measure your happiness?

Last week I was walking through the Diag and while not eavesdropping (although this is a habit I do indulge in), I overheard a group of friends talking about how happy they were that that night the dining halls were serving Mexican food. They all were smiling and seemed genuinely excited that a chicken taco was in their near future. To be candid, I was a bit jealous.

This interaction made me reflect on what made me happy? What is being happy? Does everyone have the same definition of this abstract feeling?

Interestingly the answer is no. Some human beings are predisposed to be happier than others. Recently scientists have been studying these different predispositions and levels of happiness, measuring differences on a scale. They have found that while roughly 50% of happiness is a result of genetics, the other 50% is in your control.

So how do you control happiness? What happens if you get dealt the bad hand of genetics and therefore start out as being an unhappy person? I don’t truly understand how this can even be measured and made into research, but it is an area that is increasingly focused on today, especially with the crash of the economy and the degradation of the environment. We are moving away from assessing success and life on a GDP level only and instead incorporating well-being into the measurements. I wonder if this will work and if a country so focused on money and material goods like ours can even make these adjustments?

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