Even if it doesn’t come naturally, we can all be happier

Even if it doesn’t come naturally, we can all be happier

We've all got that sad-sack friend or grumpy uncle. You know the guy. If he won the lottery, he'd complain about the taxes. It almost seems like he's constitutionally incapable of finding any lasting happiness.

Psychologist Fred Luskin says that's absolutely right. "Happiness," says Luskin, a professor at Stanford, "is about 50 percent genetic. And some people are just born on the lower end of the happiness scale."

Still, that leaves the other 50 percent. The way Luskin sees it, how one approaches the 50 percent they can control, allows them to maximize the 50 percent they can't.

Want to be happy? Don't just sit there

"Let's say you're a 4.2 on a happiness scale of 1-10," says Luskin, "if you live your life to get the most out of your genetic potential, maybe you could actually be a 6."

Luskin teaches a variety of classes on happiness at Stanford. He's part of a movement that looked at psychology in the mid-1990's and saw science based on what's wrong with people: misery, anger, frustration, and depression. This school isn't interested in what's gone wrong as much as how much better people function when they try to make things go right.

"When human beings act from kinder, gracious, less self-centered places within themselves, they are happier," he says. "They function better."

KEEP READING HERE for more on happiness and notably, how to be happier!