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The pursuit of happiness

Posted: Updated: March 14, 2013 10:30 PM
"The Happiness Project" "The Happiness Project"
(WOIO) -

These days it seems everywhere you turn there are books and web sites on how to find happiness.

After all, isn't that everyone's ultimate goal? Research shows it could be that unending search for happiness that is sabotaging our success.

Lorraine Robertson is naturally happy. Robertson says she "wakes up happy."

She is lucky and she knows it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in ten American adults reports being clinically depressed. Anti-depressant usage has increased 400% since 1994.

Online there seems to be an explosion in the amount of books, web sites, and phone apps, all trying to help us find happiness.

Happiness comes more naturally to some than others.

Gretchen Rubin, the author of a book titled The Happiness Project and Happier at Home said, "About 50% of happiness is genetically determined, so some people are born Tiggers and some people are born Eeyores."

Gretchen also says, your genetics aren't the only factor in dictating your disposition. In her research, she discovered that it's important for people to feel connected.

"People who report having long-term intimate relationships where they can confide, where they feel like they belong, these people do tend to be happier," said Rubin.

Sometimes it is the little things in life, like the smell of an orange that gives the biggest happiness boost.

It doesn't have to take huge life altering changes to impact a person's happiness. "Over and over, people tell me something like cleaning out a medicine cabinet gives them a huge jolt of good cheer and energy," said Rubin.

Jane Gruber, PhD, of Yale Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab said, "the more obsessed we are with trying to become happy, the more energy we put towards sort of happiness as the end goal, the less happy we are and actually the greater risk we are for feeling unhappy and depressed."

Gruber's research indicates the more you accept who, and how, you are, the happier you are likely to become. Dr. Gruber says, "by accepting our feelings, we're actually less likely to judge ourselves and to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression."

Rubin said her findings confirm this. Knowledge of one's self is pivotal to a positive perspective. Rubin said, "It's really easy to be distracted by the way we think we ought to be, or the way we wish we were, or the way other people think we ought to be, and lose track of what's really true for us."

It's okay to explore, but be careful of overloading on happiness sites, books, pages, and pins, or you may end up with the opposite effect, said Dr. Jane Gruber.

Lorraine Robertson is happiest spending time with her family, but admits sometimes it's getting away that brings her joy, either going for a run or losing herself in music. Robert's said, "I think sometimes people are afraid to be happy or let go."

Making the bed each morning is one simple thing that everyone can do to increase the feeling of happiness, according to Rubin.

This simple act can make all the difference in a person's day.

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