Getting Back to Happy

Getting Back to Happy

I recently watched a documentary called “Happy” and I have encouraged as many people as possible to do the same.  I think that a lot of us have, what I like to call, “ruts” – or at least that’s what I tell myself 🙂 For me, it is about identifying the “rut” and then figuring out a way to get out of it – not letting overwhelm me completely.

I got so much out of this documentary because it was truly based on the science of being happy and ways to achieve happiness. In the documentary they interview a variety of people, one a father who lives in poverty in Kolkata and pulls a rickshaw for a living. He is truly happy and it is inspiring.

Here is what I learned watching “Happy”:

As you can see in the chart:

  • 50% of happiness is genetic with a certain range of happiness, and even when good or bad things happen to us, we tend to return to our set-point.
  • 10% is circumstances; income, social status, where you live, health…
  • 40% is intentional activity; actions you choose to do…

happy dgj

I would like to focus on the 40%…

We have a chemical in our brain called dopamine that is essential for feelings of pleasure and happiness. It is part of a system of transmitters and receptors that deteriorates as we get older (past teenage years). The best way to maintain the health of our dopamine systems is through physical aerobic exercise. Surfing helps. A person interviewed suggests getting away from things and the spiritual perspective on surfing helps him. What he experiences when he surfs is what the documentary refers to as “Flow”. Flow is a state of being where you are totally immersed in an activity. You forget about the worries of everyday life and you are completely focused on the experience of the moment. Flow usually occurs while engaging in a hobby like gardening, painting, golfing or surfing, but it can also happen at work. People who get into flow on a regular basis are happier than those who don’t.

Ed Diener, a leading researcher in positive psychology, stated that every happy person he studied in over 30 years had strong relationships. Not all were outgoing or necessarily very social, but all had someone they loved and someone who loved them back.

After watching “Happy” I felt very lucky to have AVAC. I realized I have happiness at my fingertips constantly. I feel myself coming out of a “rut” and know wholeheartedly it is because of 3 these things:

  1. AMAZING Zumba classes taught by Stacy Raffensperger Dunnett
  2. AWESOME AbsoluteFit classes taught by Jackie Vail, Marie Dierks-Cook and Oceana Berry (I have only taken their classes but know they are all awesome).
  3. Being a part of our AVAC Family – providing me with meaningful relationships and meaningful work.

AVAC is a huge source of happiness in my life and it was nice to see that there is science behind the root of my happiness and a primary resource to getting me out of my “ruts”. I encourage you to get to “Happy” and know AVAC can be your resource too. So Let’s Get Back to Happy!

-Danielle Griffith-Jones, TeamAVAC

Sources Cited:


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