The Happiness Connection  

You have the power to choose your level of happiness

Your level of happiness

As soon as I finish writing this, I will be setting off to wheel multiple barrows of crushed rock, from one end of my gated community to the other. This is not something that I was expecting to have to do.

I’m not sure how I will manage physically. My ankle is still swollen, and I have a history of back and neck issues. 

I’m sure you can relate to this. Life loves to throw curve balls. When the unexpected happens, you either give up or get going. 

The reason I am sharing this is because I am surprised that I am taking the situation so easily in my stride. I’ll do my best to tackle the work myself. If I can’t, I’ll have to think of something else. 

I’m hoping that a beautiful silver lining will reveal itself during the process. 

I have been judged for finding silver linings in the darkest of storm clouds, and that’s OK. Not everyone is ready to believe they have a certain level of control over how they experience their life.

This isn’t just a belief. I have scientific evidence to back me. When I was researching my first book, I came across the happiness equation. 

Like a resting heart rate, you have a resting happiness level. It is a narrow band of mildly positive emotions that you experience when you aren’t being influenced by the world around you. 

Not everyone’s resting happiness level is the same. Some people are a little happier or unhappier, naturally. This explains why some of us are more like Tigger and others like Eeyore. 

It is widely accepted that you can improve your resting heart rate through exercise. Is there a way to raise your resting happiness level?

The answer is yes. 

Research shows there are three variables that create your resting happiness level.

Genetics + Circumstances + Intentional Activity = Your Resting Happiness Level

Genetics are the traits you inherit from your biological parents. 

Circumstances encompass your environment like your home, job, marital status, country of residence, income, material possessions, etc. 

Intentional activities are the things you consciously do, say, and think. Habits do not fit into this category. To be intentional, you need to be mindful about the choice, as well as during the process.

Although all three of these affect your norm for happiness, they are not weighted equally. 

Before you continue reading, take a moment to decide which of the three variables has the greatest impact and which has the least. What percentage do you think each one contributes?

There is some variation in the research, but I am using the most conservative findings.

Genetics has the greatest effect with 50%. Circumstance has the least. It only influences about 10%. The remaining 40% comes from intentional activity. 

Genetics are set when you are conceived, so you don’t have the ability to control this portion of the equation.

Your circumstances can be changed, but they make such a small contribution, that it really isn’t the best place to put your energy.

If you want to increase your resting level of happiness, then your best place to focus is on your intentional activity. 


  • Committing random acts of kindness
  • Writing in a journal
  • Setting and pursuing goals
  • Spending time with positive people
  • Being mindful
  • Meditating
  • Self-care
  • Exercise
  • Surrounding yourself with nature
  • Practice gratitude

Your bubble is expanding. You will soon be able to go back to the gym and get your hair cut. Remember, the activities you choose to do, will affect your resting happiness level. 

You’ve had time to break old habits. Don’t start them again without pausing to consider whether they serve you. Walk into this new phase feeling empowered to make choices that will increase your happiness, rather than reduce it.

It’s your life. Take responsibility for how you experience it. 

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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