Recently I watched a 20/20 special about happiness and I was delighted to have this news show confirm I’ve been talking about for years: We have a big measure of control over our own levels of happiness, at least 40 % according to what researchers said on the show. Only 10 percent is circumstantial and about 40 to 50 percent is genetic. Most interesting perhaps, is the notion that you can change your brain and your circumstances if you are committed to being happy. Here are four ways to get started.

1. Meditate
2. Focus on the positive
3. Build Rewarding Relationships
4. Find your flow

Neuroscience researchers report that our brains are just waiting to be transformed.If you only sit quietly for 30 minutes a day your brain will show noticeable changes in two weeks. If you are worried that you don’t have 30 minutes to spare, let me give you another source from efficiency experts Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, authors of The Power of Full Engagement: The longer more continuously and later at night you work, the less efficient and more mistake-prone you become. The point is, we need to rejuvenate and meditation is one way to get a short burst of energy.

Focus on the positive
Have you heard the saying, “what you focus on expands?” It’s not just a bunch of fluff. Dr. Richard Davidson, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin studied Monks who dedicate their life to focusing on positive thoughts of compassion and kindness. Davidson said the monks’ happiness is “off the charts.”

Build rewarding relationships
Relationships are the biggest source of happiness at work and outside of work. One reason Denmark is the happiest place in the world is because the focus is on community. Ninety-two percent of Danes belong to some kind of a social club and guess what? The government pays for it! That’s a big contrast to most Americans I know who make excuses and say they are too busy to do the things we enjoy.

Besides the social aspect, relationships are what matter at work too. One of the people profiled on the show was Sean Aiken a guy who decided to work many jobs to find his bliss. Sean found after working 52 jobs in 52 weeks. He tried everything from dairy farming to stock trading has realized, it’s not the work that matters, it’s who you work with that matters. His website in case you are interested is at

Find your Flow
Some people find their flow in their life calling, others find it in some sort of activity. The flow is something you feel when you are totally absorbed and happy with the present moment. I do feel that I have found my calling, and I’m pretty much in the flow when I’m doing coaching, speaking or training. I’ve been meditating and studying the effect of positive thought for the last five years, but something was still missing. I finally figured it out. It was putting more fun into my life…things that I like to do that have absolutely nothing to do with business.
At the end of 2007 I signed up for dance lessons. That’s right I’m taking Cha Cha Cha and Salsa with my very favorite instructor, Alex.

Alex is someone I just love to have in my life so this fits the relationship bill too. Alex was a dancer in Russia and now owns his own studio in Springfield Missouri.

Then after that I decided to take some ice skating lessons. Every time I visit a big city I see people skating in the parks and I always wish I could join them. This year I decided to make that wish a reality. See…we really do have some control over our own happiness, we just have to remember that happiness isn’t about arriving at the destination it’s about enjoying the journey.

Author's Bio: 

Marlene Chism is the host of The Stop Your Drama Radio show with Women’s Radio. For free Stop Your Drama Tips go to or to request an interview call
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