Is it possible to create more happiness in our life?
Should we be interested in happiness, or is that silly?
I feel like we all want to be happier, but we are a bit afraid to admit it because it makes us feel like something is wrong in our lives. But creating intentional happiness habits in our lives improves every area of our lives.
But are we focusing on the wrong things? Yes, we are much of the time, but I’m about to give you an education on the Science of Happiness.
What’s in the episode:
- The things we chase in hopes of fulfillment
- Understanding the components of happiness
- The control you have over your happiness
- A happiness strategy to help when you feel down
“We get to create our happiness from the inside out. ”
- Kim Strobel
If you enjoy this episode and it inspired you in some way, I’d love to hear about it and know your biggest takeaway. Take a screenshot of you listening on your device, post it to your Instagram Stories and tag me, @kimstrobeljoy.
I would also love if you subscribed to the podcast and left a review at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/she-finds-joy/id1487739752
Kim’s Happy Academy is Open!
If you’re tired of putting yourself on the back-burner and ready to learn powerful strategies for increasing your happiness levels and reclaiming your life, you might want to grab a spot on the Happy Academy Waitlist. Over 17,000 people signed up for this 10-month program last year, now it's your turn! Register at the link below!
Kim Strobel is Chief Happiness Officer at Kim Strobel Live Events and Retreats. She is a teacher, consultant, motivational speaker, happiness coach, and mission-minded person whose passion is helping others overcome their fears and discover their joy!
Hello, my friends and welcome to today's episode, I am sitting in my office, the sun is shining, my sweet little Luna Lucia is as she just turned her head, she's sitting in her window seat looking for squirrels. And I have my dog, George Leroy at my feet. And Sophie rose on the meditation chair, oh my goodness, my dogs bring me so much joy as most of you know, okay, just wanted to give you a little bit of
where I am and what I'm doing, as I'm recording this podcast episode for all of you. I want to talk to you about happiness today. And I know some of you have heard me talk about this topic, but it's so important. Happiness is no longer this frivolous world word. And in fact, I think that most of us want more of it. The issue is, is that happiness has to become an intentional practice, it needs to become an intentional practice of your daily life. Now, of course, at times, we're not going to do so well, and we're gonna go in the gutter. And those things happen to me as well. But understanding that we are allowed to put that happiness at the forefront, and we're allowed to create it within ourselves. And so I'm going to ask you, what do you think would make you happier, I want you to think about that a minute, would it be maybe a relationship in your life, would it be having more freedom and flexibility at work, maybe it would be having a job that provides you more money to take care of your family better. Maybe it would be a baby or a bigger house or a more attentive spouse losing weight, right, who doesn't want to lose weight that would make me happier, I feel like if I could lose about 15 pounds,
you know, maybe it would make you happier to be cured of an illness you have or to have more time on your hands, or, you know, all of these things we all think about, that's very normal. But the happiness research actually says that none of those things will make us substantially happier. Now, this doesn't mean that we can't find lasting happiness, that we can't increase our happiness levels. But what it does mean is that those things that we're looking for, that we think are going to have a really big significance in our life, that, you know, if I got a really wonderful relationship, I would be so much happier, if I lost my weight, I'd be so much happier, if I had a baby, I would be so much happier. And the thing is, is these things that we believe will make a huge difference in our life. According to the scientific research, they only make a small
difference. And many times we kind of overlook or just aren't educated or we have belief systems inside of us that say, the right things, the things that we really know will make us happier, aren't always worth pursuing. And so I want to talk about this topic, because what we know is that you have to work on yourself. I always tell people that that is your biggest job. But we put it to the wayside, we say, I don't have time to work on myself, I don't want to work on myself, it's uncomfortable to work on myself. And that work can look like many things it can definitely look like putting your well being at the forefront. It can look like having hard conversations with people in your life. It can look like getting a spiritual mentor or a counselor or coach. And I believe that when we work on ourselves, and I think I'm a constant work on myself, I think I will forever be working on myself. But what I can tell you is that by having the courage to make that a practice in my life, I think that my life is so much better. I think that the version of me today, even with all of her inadequacies at times and all of my mistakes that I'm still a much better version of myself before I worked on myself. And so if you want
to kind of, you know, dig yourself out of the hole and get to higher ground, what we know is that you can start out very, very small, and you can begin to get immediate results. It's making me think about Martin Seligman. He's taught and researched positive psychology for over 40 years at the University of Pennsylvania. And he taught a single happiness enhancing strategy to a group of severely depressed people, you know, like their depression scores were put them in the most extreme, depressed category. And these individuals had trouble leaving their beds, they had trouble taking showers, they just really struggled. And he gave them an exercise and in told them to log on to a website and do this very simple exercise, which meant that they need to recall and write down three good things that happened every day. For example, it could just be really small things like Jane called to say hello, or I read a chapter of the book, my therapist recommended, or the flowers are blooming, today, the sun came out, I took a shower. And what was interesting is that within 15 days, their depressions lifted from severely depressed to mildly to moderately depressed, and 94% of the people experienced relief. Now, I'm not saying that some of these habits are going to cure people from severe depression, because I know that that's a very real illness and a very real suffering. But I also know there are tools, there are strategies that can really help us through our hard times. And I don't think that happiness is just a streak of, you know, good luck.
It's something that we have the ability to create within ourselves. And we don't always understand the power that we have. And we've kind of been educated or conditioned to believe that the wrong things are going to make us really happy. And that's what I want to talk to you about today. Now, many of you have heard me talk about the research about what determines your overall happiness levels in Why are some of us going through life and feeling pretty darn happy. And others of us are kind of me, man, you know, surviving the day, getting through it, nothing too great, but also nothing too bad. And then others of us really struggle to find it. And it's really interesting, because when they have people rate, their happiness, they find that people rate their happiness levels way more or higher than what they really are. Because we don't want to feel good. We don't want to feel worse about ourselves. Isn't that interesting. And
so I want to explain the happiness research and go a little bit deeper with you today. So that maybe we can plant some seeds of hope. And I'm a pretty happy person, I wake up excited to live my life. But I have these intentional practices that are done on a daily basis. And
it's important to understand that if you truly want to achieve more of this in your life, that it means that you're going to have to do the work. So you know, that I've talked about, we all have a set baseline happiness level, and that set baseline happiness level. We know that 50% of the differences among people's happiness levels comes from their genetics, right? It's their mother, their father or a mixture of both. And this research was done by Sonya Luber miski And she wrote this fantastic book called The howl of happiness. And the research was done with identical and fraternal twins. And what that research told us is that each of us is born with a particular happiness set point. And that that happiness set point originates from our biological mother or father or both. And so we have this baseline or this potential for happiness, which means we are going to
return to our baseline, even after major setbacks, major struggles, major challenges, bad things. And we're also going to return to that baseline, after great things in our life have happened. And so
what this means that in Sonya talks about this in her book, she's like, if you could take a magic wand, and we could turn, we have 100 people. And we could turn all 100 people into genetic clones, or identical twins of one another, that we would still see a difference in their happiness levels. But those differences would be reduced by 50%. Because 50% is genetic. You know, it makes me think about all the other genetic things we have.
We have a genetic set point for our weight, right? That comes from our genes. In some of us, we're blessed with skinny little bodies, and we can eat McDonald's french fries, and we can eat dessert and stay really skinny, you know, or maintain our weight, while other people have a really hard time, keeping their weight at the level that they want. And if they slack just a little bit, the pounds just creep on. I know for me, I have a wonderful friend and she's had a lifelong struggle with weight in I'm positive that I eat way more than her in a day's time. So we know that there's this genetic tendency, just like there's a genetic tendency for whether or not you're going to get diabetes, or if you're going to have eye problems later in life. Now, where this I think gets really interesting is that when we look at the happiness research, we also know that only about 10%
of our happiness is explained by the differences in our life circumstances or situations, which means that we can take every single so if we have those 100 people in the theater,
and we know that 50% Right that that the differences in them, could be the 50%. That's genetic, we could also take all 100 people, and we could take every single external circumstance that they've had. And we would see that there still only a difference of about 10% in their happiness levels, because that accounts for only 10% of our long term happiness. So let's talk about external circumstances. This would be are you married, single, divorced, widowed? Do you have kids? Do you not have kids? Do you need to lose a lot of weight? Do you not need to lose weight?
Are you healthy? Are you unhealthy? Are you rich? Are you poor. And so again, we could go back to that magic wand as Sonya explains in her book, and we could put all 100 people into the same set of circumstances. All 100 People live in the same house, they have the same type of spouse, they have the same place of birth, they have the same face the same aches, pains, illnesses, stresses, everything. And the differences in their happiness levels would be reduced by only 10%.
Isn't that crazy? 10 per cent because of the external circumstances. And so what we also know, when it comes to money, and let me tell you, I'm about building wealth, you guys have heard my podcast episodes about building wealth. There's nothing wrong with wanting more money, especially if your reasons for wanting more money are backed by the scientific things that say that will indeed help with your happiness levels. But here's what the research says. They did this really well known study that demonstrated that the richest people in America which be would be those earning more than $10 million annually, that they report levels of personal happiness that are only slightly greater than the office staff and blue collar workers they employ. Isn't that interesting?
And I know in the happy Academy, I teach a whole module on this. And I know that in the module we talk about these graphs, and these graphs show like Okay, let's look at income levels. And let's look up or look at the correlation between income level and how
happiness level. And what the graph shows is that there is a difference in happiness, a more of a remarkable difference in happiness levels around the $75,000. Mark. So if you have a household income of less than 75,000, they do notice that happiness levels drop, because
household income of less than 75,000, they do notice that happiness levels drop, because there's the stressors of, you know, living paycheck to paycheck, maybe are having trouble paying bills or wanting to, you know, give your kids opportunities and experiences. But what's really interesting is when it goes from 75,000, let's say to a half million to 2 million to 10 million to 30 million, the difference is very, very little, very little. And, you know, we all tend to think like, oh, my gosh, if I had $10 million, you know, my husband's always like, Hi, I just wish we get $10 million. And, you know, and of course, yeah, I take $2 million, I feel like there's a lot of things I can do with $10 million.
But what's interesting on that graph is it just kind of shows us that for most people, that does not give us a really significant boost in happiness levels, we have that chart in the happy Academy, that also explains the weight loss thing, you know, and of course, we should all want healthier bodies. And the happiness research is really strong that if you exercise, if you move 30 minutes a day, that is one of the top five happiness habits. But when it comes to losing weight, we don't see like a significant difference for people. And it's really, because of this thing called hedonic adaptation we all have he Donek adaptation is part of our brain. And what that means is we have this kind of defense mechanism, this adaptability, where we can adapt to things pretty quickly as a survival mechanism. And so when you are really outside, and it's cold, freezing temperatures, and you're shivering all over, and you come inside, and you sit by the fireplace, and you know how it feels like so good. And so warm those first minute, minute or two, and then all sudden, you're like, Okay, I'm kind of done with this, right? Like, it doesn't feel as good anymore. That's he Donek adaptation, we actually have this built in brain mechanism that says, Okay, after a certain amount of time, right, like, I got the new house, and it made me lots happier. But after a certain amount of time, it kind of just becomes the new normal, right? I'm used to it,
that it's not giving me quite as high of a high. And so it's really interesting, because not that we shouldn't want to have more money, or we wouldn't desire to lose weight. But it's really understanding that the amount of energy we're putting towards some of those external circumstances, are they short term increases in our happiness levels? Or are there things that we can do that are going to really have those long term effects. And that's just, you know, educational, it's just helping us understand and rethink some of these things. And so, if we go back to that pie chart, and we know that 50% is genetics, and 10% is our external circumstances, let's go back to those 100 people that we've been, that are all in the room together, and they are all identical twins, and they've all had identical life situations, right?
They still would differ in how happy they are. Even though they share the exact same genetics, they share the exact same life circumstances,
they would still differ in how happy they are.
they would still differ in how happy they are.
Even after we take into account, you know, like their genetic bleed, determined personalities,
you know, the different circumstances of our life, what we go through, what we know is that 40% of the differences in our happiness levels are there.
So what makes up that 40% Because it has nothing to do with your genes. It has nothing to do with your life circumstances. What that 40% has to do is with three different things,
your thoughts, and your behaviors, which mean that the magic wand to happiness is not being too caught up in your genetic makeup.
Not being too caught up in your life circumstances. But really thinking about what are my daily intentional activities? What are my daily thoughts? What are my daily behaviors?
And what really has fired me up is that we all have the ability to increase our happiness levels by up to 40%, folks 40%. And it's that 40% that we work on in the happy Academy, which you all know, launches in August, we start in August. And I will tell you, it is nine months, that if you do the work on yourself, if you do the actions, work on your thoughts, work on your behaviors, which I'm going to be guiding you through and coaching you through the entire program, that you will begin to really see these results in your life. That's the most magical part is when I see people start to get these results. Because they are no longer talking about feeling better in their life, they are no longer talking about it. They are embodying it, they've taken on a new identity. They have new practices in their life. They're small, teeny, tiny habits, that make a
really big difference. So if you're an individual, if you're an educator, if you're a school leader, who's listening to this, and you want to be coached by me for nine months, all you have to do is go to struggle education.com.
At the top, you're going to see a menu bar programs, and you're going to go to the happy Academy. And if you're an action taker, if you're like, you know what I'm tired of not being able to move the needle in my life, I'm going to actually finally take massive action. What I know is that when you take action in your life, the universe responds to that you will be supported in that action. And I would love to help you increase your happiness levels by up to 40% and create a lot of shifts in all areas of your life, what you're going after, what you're dreaming about what you're seeking, what you're wanting what you're desiring, and I would love to coach you through that process. Alright folks, that's my happiness talk for you today. I hope it's made you think a little bit about other areas of your life. I hope that it's made you reflect about the work that you need to do on yourself maybe. And I hope that we planted some seeds of hope in you today.