Happiness can be inculcated as a way of life through the following steps, claim researchers.
Earlier, scientists had suggested happiness is primarily determined by genetics, health and other factors mostly outside of our control, reports the China Daily.
Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky of the University of California, Riverside, said: "The billion-dollar question is, is it possible to become happier?"
"Despite the finding that happiness is partially genetically determined, and despite the finding that life situations have a smaller influence on our happiness than we think they do, we argue that still a large portion of happiness is in our power to change."
After analysing 51 studies, that tested attempts to increase happiness, Lyubomirsky has jotted down five things that can improve happiness:
1. Be grateful - Some study participants were asked to write letters of gratitude to people who had helped them in some way. The study found that these people reported a lasting increase in happiness - over weeks and even months - after implementing the habit.
2. Be optimistic - Study participants were asked to visualize an ideal future - for example, living with a loving and supportive partner, or finding a job that was fulfilling - and describe the image in a journal entry. After doing this for a few weeks, these people too reported increased feelings of well-being.
3. Count your blessings - People who practice writing down three good things that have happened to them every week show significant boosts in happiness, studies have found. It seems the act of focusing on the positive helps people remember reasons to be glad.
4. Use your strengths - Another study asked people to identify their greatest strengths, and then to try to use these strengths in new ways. For example, someone who says they have a good sense of humor could try telling jokes to lighten up business meetings or cheer up sad friends. This habit, too, seems to heighten happiness.
5. Commit acts of kindness - Helping others also helps ourselves. People who donate time or money to charity, or who altruistically assist people in need, report improvements in their own happiness.