Happiness is a Choice

Zig Ziglar on

The "Good Morning America" program that aired Jan. 21, 1997, had a fascinating visitor, science editor Dr. Michael Guillen, who shared some intriguing information concerning happiness.

He said there are some people today who are called "happyologists." They've compiled interesting information about what it takes to be happy. One person said it's "the love of my woman and frosted flakes." A woman said, "It's feeling content." Another man said, "Happiness is a good chess game."

Contrary to popular opinion, winning the lottery is not one of the things that makes people happy. Psychologist David Myers, a Ph.D. from Hope College, says lottery winners are temporarily euphoric, but over time they become no happier than they were before winning the lottery.

Guillen says that deep down, happiness comes from intimate relationships like being married or believing in God, and also from a deep-seated conviction that life has a purpose worth pursuing. Dr. Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin says that "happiness is the process associated with achieving our goals."

This is confirmed by a study done by David Jensen at UCLA, which showed that people with specific goals and plans for reaching them are not only happier and healthier, but they also get along better with people at home and make more money.

Research now indicates that approximately 50% of our happiness comes from our genes. Some are programmed one way, and others are programmed another way. However, there is something all of us can do to be happy. Scientists say that even if you inherit "grumpy genes," you can overcome much of that by exercising, getting plenty of sleep and smiling, which triggers the release of powerful antidepressants like serotonin and dopamine.


Guillen also says that a spiritual life is important, and people who are actively religious are much happier than others. So take the steps the good doctor recommends, and I'll see you at the top!

"I have never met an unhappy giver." -- George Adams


To find out more about Zig Ziglar and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at




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