The Pursuit of Happiness (for Introverts)

I recently watched Happy, the social documentary by Roko Belic. As the natural scientist that I am, I couldn’t help but focus on the statistics. It gathered various studies done on human happiness and wellbeing and posited the following:

Our happiness is determined by (approx.)

  • 50% Genetic Predisposition
  • 40% What We Do
  • 10% Our Environment

Genetically, some of us have a higher baseline of happiness that we sit on once external influences are removed. That’s something we can’t change.

But research has shown that approximately 40% of our happiness is able to be dictated by ourselves. The pursuit of happiness can be the biggest single factor in achieving it.

I think I am predisposed to a natural low state of happiness. It is harder for me to find stability. As an introvert it is perhaps a little trickier to pursue happiness according to the guidelines, as many of the proven happiness boosting activities are social-based and anxiety-inducing but it’s a matter of finding the right ones.

-Experiencing flow and doing something you’re good at (ie. Get a hobby!)

-Exercise and meditation (even a little can help)

-Contributing to someone else’s happiness (volunteering is a great way to do this)

-Reflection and practising gratitude (keeping a journal or using Instagram #gratitude)

As a freelancer I have found the shut-in nature of my job does lead to feelings of isolation, even when I prefer it that way. Going out of my way to look after my mental health can be a real effort sometimes but the side effects can be quite debilitating, for both me and my family.

Rather than the usual advice of ‘get out more!’ I found this documentary incredibly helpful and motivating.

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