The How Of Happiness Book Summary By Sonja Lyubomirsky

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The How of Happiness (2007) is a comprehensive guide to finding more joy in life.

It's built upon the latest research from empirical studies, spinning together all the key concepts needed to become a happier person.

Inside, you'll find useful explanations and instructions on how to alter your thoughts and behaviors in order to build long-term contentment.

Whether it’s through nurturing positive relationships or reevaluating perceptive patterns, this book provides readers with science-backed tools to discover true happiness and fulfillment.

As such, The How of Happiness is both an instruction manual for creating lasting pleasure as well as a detailed primer on understanding why happiness matters and can make all the difference in our lives.

The How Of Happiness Book

Book Name: The How of Happiness (A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want)

Author(s): Sonja Lyubomirsky

Rating: 4.6/5

Reading Time: 27 Minutes

Categories: Mindfulness & Happiness

Author Bio

The How of Happiness was written by Sonja Lyubomirsky, a distinguished professor of psychology at the University of California-Riverside.


Lyubomirsky is an associate editor of the Journal of Positive Psychology and has been awarded numerous academic grants and prizes, including a large $1 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health which financed some of the research she conducted for The How of Happiness.

She is an expert in her field with a passion for understanding how happiness can be increased in our lives through techniques such as goal-setting, gratitude, mindfulness, and other practices.

Discover The Secrets Of Happiness: A Scientific Guide To A Happy Life

Happy Life

Happiness is often a misunderstood subject.

Many so-called “happiness gurus” have tried to provide advice, but it’s often based on poorly studied research or hearsay.

Fortunately, over the past decade, the field of social psychology has accumulated a vast amount of research on how we can increase our happiness.

The How of Happiness by Natures Nutrition is a perfect example of this scientific approach.

It draws from detailed academic studies and data to bring you practical advice on how to increase your happiness in both short-term and long-term ways.

You’ll learn why obtaining the desires of your heart isn’t always beneficial, why genes don’t dictate your happiness level, and why doing less of something can be better in some cases than doing more of it.

If you want to take control of your own happiness, then The How of Happiness is an essential read

We Think Our Personal Circumstances Have More Of An Impact On Our Happiness Than They Really Do

It’s a common belief that our personal circumstances determine how happy we are, but scientific research shows us differently – our happiness is only 10 percent influenced by the incidental details of our lives.

This means that if one person is happier than another, only 10 percent of that can be attributed to their job, income level, marital status, and all those other things.

This goes against what most of us would expect – we think that if we got married or experienced some kind of positive change in our lives then we would be much happier.

However, research has found that this boost is usually short-lived because of something called hedonic adaptation.

We get used to changes in our lives quickly and the pleasure and excitement fades away – just like when you buy a shiny new gadget and become accustomed to it after a while.

Plus, even big life changes such as getting married can have surprisingly smaller effects on long-term happiness compared to what most people think!

One study found that couples reported being “very happy” at a rate of 25%, compared to 21% for single people – just four percentage points apart!

So while positive changes in circumstances can bring brief happiness boosts, it’s important to remember that our personal circumstances affect our long-term happiness much less than we typically assume.

Our Genes Play A Role In Our Happiness, But They Don’T Tell The Whole Story

Do you know people who are almost always cheerful, even when they face adversity? Or the opposite – those who are almost always gloomy, even when their lives seems to be fine? Scientists believe that our genetic make-up may play a role in how likely we are to feel happy.

This was confirmed by a research which compared identical and fraternal twins.

The results indicated that despite some shared environmental factors, the identical twins still shared similar happiness levels while there were no patterns among the fraternal twins.

This indicates that our genes may have some influence on our general level of happiness, though it is only one part of the equation.

To further support this point, researchers looked at studies comparing identical twins who were separated at birth; although each pair went through different circumstances, their similarities in happiness levels could not be attributed solely to genetics.

Furthermore, there was no correlation between the happiness levels of fraternal twins – even those raised in similar environments – thus indicating that DNA alone cannot dictate our moods.

Our Thoughts And Behaviors Play A Crucial Role In Our Happiness, Even If Our Set Point Is Low


We have so much influence over our own happiness!

It has been found that genetics only explain half of the variations in individuals’ levels of happiness.

In addition, 10 percent of our happiness can be attributed to our circumstances.

But that still leaves 40 percent unaccounted for.

So where is it coming from?

Well, according to research, the remaining 40 percent is actually influenced by our own thoughts and behaviors.

That’s right – we can make ourselves happier, no matter what life throws at us!

This is great news as it means we do have control over how happy we are despite any external factors out of our control.

Interestingly, this 40 percent also includes something called a ‘happiness set point’; though some people’s set points may naturally be higher or lower than others’ this doesn’t mean you can’t rise above your set point – all you need to do is work on changing your thoughts and behavior and although it take more effort if you start off with a lower set point you may find that it makes the effort even more empowering.

Intervention Studies Help Identify The Thoughts And Behaviors That Increase Our Happiness

As researchers try to uncover which thoughts and behaviors can lead to increased happiness, one of the most reliable methods they use is an intervention study.

An intervention study is a research method in which a group of participants are actively intervened with, by asking them to do certain activities, in order to observe if it leads to an increase in their sense of well-being.

For example, researchers studying the effects of gratitude on happiness asked participants to keep a gratitude journal and wrote down five things that they were grateful for three times per week.

The results showed that the group who kept their gratitude journals once a week reported feeling more joyful and satisfied with life than the control group!

These findings suggest that by taking active steps towards cultivating positive emotions such as gratitude, you could have a significant impact on your overall sense of wellbeing.

Clearly, intervention studies are an effective way for researchers to identify the behaviours and thoughts that make us truly happy.

Timing And Frequency Are Critical To The Effectiveness Of Happiness-Boosting Activities

The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky reveals a surprising finding regarding the effectiveness of activities to boost happiness: their success depends on when and how often you practice them.

For example, this was the case for the people who wrote in their gratitude journal three times per week—they experienced no benefits at all, while those whose members wrote it once a week did experience significantly greater levels of happiness.

This further suggests that if you repeat an activity too often it can start to feel like a chore, losing its meaning and thus diminishing your happiness.

It appears that spacing out your activities can help keep them feeling fresh and meaningful.

Moreover, frequency mattered when practicing acts of kindness such as buying a friend an ice-cream sundae or giving a homeless person money – those who concentrated five acts into one day experienced a significant boost in happiness, whereas those who spread it over an entire week reported no boost.

Concentrating multiple acts into one special day likely feels more impactful than spreading them out throughout the week as we naturally do small acts of kindness every day such as holding open doors for others or smiling at strangers on the street.

Therefore, The How Of Happiness offers fascinating insight that timing and frequency can substantially alter how well we experience joy through various activities – so be mindful when determining when and how often you practice each activity!

Achieving And Maintaining Happiness Requires Variety And Commitment

Happiness Requires

The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky reveals one of the important secrets to increasing happiness: it’s not just what you do, but how often you do it and in what way.

Variety and commitment are two key elements that can play a huge role in determining the effectiveness of activities that boost happiness.

To demonstrate this idea, Lyubomirsky and her colleagues carried out an intervention study which explored the effects of acts of kindness on participants’ happiness levels.

They found that while one group who varied their acts of kindness reported increases in happiness levels, another group whose acts remained the same saw decreases in their happiness levels.

This is believed to be largely due to the fact that monotonous tasks didn’t excite them enough to bring about any positive effects.

What’s more, multiple studies have shown that if you want your activity-based happiness boost to last, you must practice it repeatedly over time for as long as possible.

A one-time event or short stint with any activity – such as keeping a gratitude journal for a couple of months – won’t suffice here either; if you want those effects to last and continue enjoying them, then make sure the activity becomes a habit.

Otherwise, chances are you’ll find yourself right back where you started off without any significant changes in your level of happiness.

Enjoy The Benefits Of Gratitude: Repetition And Variety Is The Key

When it comes to happiness and wellbeing, doing something the same way every time will often lead to diminishing returns.

You need to keep things fresh by varying your happiness-boosting activities in a way that feels right for you.

For example, keeping a gratitude journal is a great tool for cultivating an appreciative outlook on life.

But it’s not your only option.

You could also set aside some time to think about the good things from the week, express your gratitude through art, call or write someone you appreciate, or replacing ungrateful thoughts with grateful ones.

Ultimately, you can pick whatever works best for you and adjust as needed!

Moreover, how often should you do these activities? According to research from The How of Happiness book, once per week is a good rule of thumb but there’s no one-size-fits-all approach here – find what works best for you and go with that.

And if you’re burned out on one method or topic switch it up – focus on different areas of your life each week – relationships one week and career the next – to keep things interesting.

So don’t be afraid to experiment and see which activity gives you the most joy; practice happiness boosting activities in ways that feel right for you so that they don’t become tedious and they are impactful enough to create long lasting satisfaction with life!

Choose The Happiness-Boosting Activities That Fit You The Best

Happiness-Boosting Activities

If you are looking for ways to increase your happiness, Natures Nutrition‘s “The How of Happiness” provides useful information for accomplishing that goal.

The book suggests several activities that can boost your happiness by digging into the principles behind them.

While many of these activities have been widely recommended in self-help literature, it is important to remember that they don’t necessarily work for everyone.

That’s why the author emphasizes choosing the ones which best fit and resonate with you as an individual.

Examples of such activities include physical exercise, meditation, improving relationships, setting goals and most importantly savoring the pleasurable experiences in life.

It is however important to note that timing, frequency and commitment towards such activities plays a part in making them effective.

Therefore one should start out with just one, two or three of those activities until they become part of their daily routine before attempting to add more later on.

Wrap Up

The book “The How of Happiness” provides us with various strategies to make ourselves happier.

When it comes down to it, only 10% of our happiness depends on our circumstances and 50% of it is determined by genetics.

However, that still leaves us with 40% of control over our personal level of happiness.

We can achieve this by changing our thought patterns and behaviors – such as practicing optimism, avoiding rumination and creating a vision of your best possible future.

Ultimately, these practices are not only easy to implement; they will also help you foster sustainable levels of contentment in the long-term.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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