Skip to main content

What is Happiness?

Lesson 1 from: The Power of Happiness

Vanessa Van Edwards

What is Happiness?

Lesson 1 from: The Power of Happiness

Vanessa Van Edwards

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

1. What is Happiness?

Lesson Info

What is Happiness?

All right, it's open class. At home, if you're dancing with us, endorphins going. I hope you better be dancing with us at home, too. All right, and go, thank you guys. So, I am so excited to be back here at Creative Live, and as most of you know, I am obsessed with science. There's a reason that we started off with a dance party, and that is because, of course, science says that dancing makes us happy, and since we're gonna spend the next 10 days talking about happiness, I figure we better start off with this science, and we're gonna be talking about a lot of science throughout the course. So, dancing makes us happy, it improves our moods, it gives us endorphins, it also helps us shake out those nerves, I was a little nervous while I was waiting, and it makes us more creative. So, they found that when you dance, it kind of opens up your body and it opens up your mind. So, today I'm going to dive into the puzzle of happiness. Now, happiness has always been one of these topics that's kin...

d of confused me, and the reason for this is because there is a happiness puzzle I wanna talk about. This is if you ask most people what do you want most in life? Most people will tell you that they want happiness. If you ask most people what do you most want for your children? Most of them will say, oh, I want them to be happy, I want them to have the happiest possible life. But when you ask people what are you doing to get more happiness? Or how do you get more happiness? This is when the answers start to break down. Happiness is something that we think about a lot, talk about it a lot, we want it so badly, but when you actually think about how do we get more happiness, what is being happier mean? That's when we start to get a little bit fuzzy. So, I think that happiness is sort of this concept that we all have in our minds but we don't exactly know how to define it. My goal in this course is to bring clarity to happiness, and I wanna start off with a little bit of a question for you guys, this is gonna start to clarify our happiness. So, at home, I want you to also think about your answer to this as well. What is your biggest source of happiness? The choices are, of course there's no right answers, it's just for you, your friends, your partner, a hobby, your family, your career, or unsure. So, how many are holding it's A, your friends, here in the audience? How many people think it's B, your partner? How about C, a hobby? Interesting, okay, D, your family? How about E, your career? Okay, and how about F, unsure? Okay, so what we did is we've taken a lot of these questions and we've polled our readers to find out what the majority of people say. So, when we asked almost 300 people this exact question, I'm curious what you guys got at home, this was about the breakdown. So, family was actually the biggest one, with pretty even split between friends and a hobby, however, not sure came in second. I thought this was so interesting, because again, when you ask those people what they want, they want happiness, and when you ask them what causes your happiness, a lot of us are a little bit unsure, 22 percent of people said that they were not sure. So, I have a little game that we're gonna play to figure out this idea of exactly makes us happy. So, I gave everyone in the audience red and green cards, so you can grab those for me, and kinda wanna keep them handy throughout the course if you wanna put them in a little pocket, or underneath your leg while you're seated. So, what I'm gonna do is while we're going throughout the course, I'm gonna kinda ask you to raise one or the other, and at home, you can either Tweet me your answer, or just write down your answer in your workbook. So, do you know exactly what makes you happy? Yes for green, just a little bit fuzzy I wanna see red, we're just gonna practice that so I can kinda get an idea. Oh, pretty evenly mixed, actually. All right, so most of you know I love studying people skills, and the Science of People were a human behavior research lab in Portland, Oregon, and we study all the hidden forces that drive our behavior. Now, I love talking about interpersonal skills, right? We talk about communication, relationships, and personality, but I realized that this is only one side of human behavior, the other side to human behavior is the intrapersonal skills, right? The feelings, the emotions that drive us. And after the first few years where I was focused really exclusively on the interpersonal side, I realized that I think I was avoiding the intrapersonal skills. I think that's because intrapersonal feels a little bit too personal. There are some parts of happiness that, for some reason, make people feel a little bit uncomfortable, like it's going too deep. So, I wasn't sure if I was the only one who think this, does talking about happiness make you feel a little bit, is that too personal? Is that an easy topic to talk about? Am I the only one? I'd love to see your guys' answers with that. Interesting, a little bit of both, you can hold up both if you want. So, as I dive into this course, I really do hope we can get personal, I think the biggest mistake that people make when they're reading happiness articles in different magazines is they stay very surface, right? They talk about a couple strategies you can have here and there, you know, maybe meditate in the morning, but I actually think you can't talk about happiness without getting personal. So, my goal is to get very personal with you guys, and I hope that you guys at home will get personal with me as well. So, the very first thing I did when I sort of started on this happy adventure, this happiness journey, is what I do before ever research experiment, and that is I did a giant academic review. So, my researchers in my lab helped me gather every happiness study that we could possibly find, and we found about 246 happiness studies from very respected academic institutions and organizations that we felt were okay, legit, very well researched, great experimental method. We took all 246 of these studies, and then we did something called the happiness audit. So, we looked at these studies and I tried to pull out usable nuggets, parts of these studies that I thought we could actually use in everyday life that weren't just helpful in the lab. Did you guys take your happiness audit? So, how did it feel? And also, by the way, please introduce yourself to the lovely audience at home when you talk so that people can get to know you a little bit. So, what was it like for you? You don't have to share your number if you don't want to, but did it surprise you? Anyone wanna start? Yes, Erica. Hi, Erica Marie, at first, I was a little hesitant of like exactly between two what is it gonna be, and then as I kept going, it got easier and easier to know exactly where I was within the realm, and I thought that the results are very interesting. I had a 163, so I felt it was All right, let's look at those numbers. Okay, thank you for sharing your number by the way, I know the number can be personal. So, basically we designed this audit based on the academic research, and the reason we did this is because I wanted to get bigger numbers on some of this academic research. Most academic studies, and I love them, but a lot of them are based on college sophomores or seniors, right? It's usually psychology students who are trying to get extra credit. And so I'm looking at all these studies, and it's like got psychology students, got graduate students, and I'm like how about adults, right? Adults in the real world. So, we took a lot of the happiness research, put it into this happiness audit so we could get data on real life adults, right? So, as you mentioned with the first couple questions, we're not usually asked quizzes about these kinds of topics, right? We're not usually asked about fulfillment, or life satisfaction, or moods very often, so what it does is it takes all of your answers and it kinda puts them into algorithm and gives you a number back. And here are the different categories, so you said you were 163, all right, so you were right between, or right into very happy, at the very bottom of very happy, rather happy. And by the way, they have little explanations below each of them. So, the reason why we have this audit, it was one to get a little bit of research into you, but also for you to have sort of a litmus test before and after this course, right? I think it's incredibly helpful to actually quantify happiness. Hard to do that most of the time, I know, but it's really helpful to be able to take the quiz, get your number, take the course, and then see how your answers change. So, my challenge for you is take the audit now, it's totally free, take it now, do the course, and then take it at the end of the course, and see if answering those questions feels different to you. I'm pretty sure that it will. Any other surprises, yes? Yes, tell me. I was 161, so I was on the low end of very happy, and I thought I would score higher. But some of the questions were things like how satisfied are you with achieving your goals? And it got me thinking, well, I have some pretty lofty goals, so somebody who might not have those types of goals might say oh, I'm perfectly happy, but I have more things I wanna achieve. So, it's interesting because when we talk about goals, we're gonna learn about the progress principle, and that actually greater happiness comes from having really small goals within larger goals. So, hopefully by the end of the course we can maybe change the answer to that question so you're achieving small goals within your big goals. But I think that's interesting that I never even thought about that, yeah? Vanessa, I thought it was really interesting too, I know, 'cause for the audit you say like don't overthink it, just kind of do what comes natural, you know, what the first instinct is, but there were definitely some questions that I started to kind of try to overthink, do you have any suggestions for people how to like just go with it, go with your gut? Okay, so this is such a good point to bring up, and we should talk about this right now. A lot of the exercises we're going to be doing in this course, both live and at home, I'm going to be encouraging you to go with your gut answer, not to overthink it. The reason for this is because with happiness, I found that we often have aspirational answers. And that's okay, right? Like, we answer either as the best version of ourselves on the best possible day, or the person that we hope to become. And that's great, right, we're gonna actually do an exercise called our best future selves exercise, but for these answers, it's really important that you think about who you are on your worst day. I know that's like a really crazy way to do a quiz, but actually that will help you diagnose things much faster. So, when you're thinking about your answers, think about your crankiest mood, your lowest funk day, that's the answer I want you to give me, not aspirational answers, not yet at least. Okay, so let's do a couple other questions from the audit and I wanna show you the answers that we got on them. And I can also update the statistics on our website once we get everyone at home taking this. So, what is your biggest source of unhappiness, okay? Oh my God, I heard some intakes of breath, I heard people be like oh, it's coming, it's coming. So, we are going to be talking about unhappiness in this course too, I hate to break it to you, but that's actually, I think, the dark side makes us appreciate the light. So, choices are time and schedule, difficult people, income slash money, career, or just not feeling fulfilled. How many people think it's A, time and schedule? How many people think it's B, difficult people? How many people think it's C, income slash money? Okay, D, career? Huh, okay, and how about E, not feeling fulfilled? Okay, so these answers actually match almost exactly the research that we got the first time we ran this audit. So, of about over 300 results, we had actually more difficult people answers, I thought that was interesting, typically if there's a difficult person in your life they tend to be like a little pebble or a canker sore. You know who I'm talking about, yeah. But the biggest one here was 45 percent, I was really surprised by that actually, I always thought that, you know, you have these specific things in your life that you wanna change, and once you change them happiness comes. But actually, there's this general feeling, and so it ended up I based this course on these answers, trying to address the problems directly into what people needed most. So, we are going to talk a lot about that feeling of fulfillment. Next, what's your happiness goal? So, be in better control of my moods, wake up excited on a daily basis, lessen stress and anxiety, or increase my life satisfaction? So, by the way, you can raise your hand for as many of these ones as you want. So, how many for be in better control of my moods, is that a pain source for anyone? Yeah, me too. How about wake up excited on a daily basis? Yeah, not dreading the day. Lessen stress? Uh huh, and how about increase my life satisfaction? Okay, so we also allowed people to check more than one answer on this one, and here's how it broke down. So again, we had a lot of votes on these ones. By far, increase my life satisfaction was the biggest one, but these also got really high votes as in here, so we know that happiness is sort of this lever, right? It's not just one area of our life, it's funk prevention, right, it prevents funk in the future, it also helps us feel more excited at the end of the day. So, here are my goals of the course, you'll notice they mirror exactly your goals of the course. So one, I want to teach you some control, some aspects for being in better control of your moods, I call this funk prevention. Second, one of the reasons I started happiness research was I realized that I was going to bed incredibly anxious. I would sort of see my bed, and it would even cause me anxiety because I knew that as soon as I laid my head down, I would start thinking about all the things that were either wrong with the day behind me, or gonna be wrong with the day ahead of me. I also realized what happened was that I would also wake up in anxiety, kind of jolting awake, or have a real sluggish kind of wake up, and so I wanted to figure out how can we, from a scientific perspective, try to change that modality? Next, lessen stress and anxiety, so anxiety is kind of this big word, it loops in a lot of things, but mostly, I want to give you a higher ratio of positive emotions to negative emotions, that is the main goal there. And definitely we talked about increasing life satisfaction and fulfillment, why are we here? This is a very different approach to happiness. For those of you who are in my other two courses, you will know that I don't like teaching things in a typical way, I like to shake things up a little bit, I like to add formulas where there usually aren't any formulas, I like to turn soft skills into hard skills, so we are going to be taking a very science based approach to happiness, that means adding in numbers and calculations, but in a good way for those of you who didn't like math, I didn't either, don't worry, you can use a calculator if you want. So, I have broken up this course into 10 happiness skills. And this is actually my big idea for the course, this is sort of my thesis statement. I think that we believe that happiness is something that is bestowed upon us, or it's something that we inherit, or maybe we're born with it, or some of us weren't born with it. I actually believe that happiness is a skill that we have to work at it, just like we learn a foreign language, or we learn a science or a math, I think that we actually have to learn to be happy, or to press happiness levers. So, I'm going to be treating it just like we would do a skill, just like a negotiation skill or a foreign language skill. The biggest thing that stops us up with happiness, and now we're gonna start diving into the science, is what I call the when-then mindset. So, when-then mindset, this might sound familiar to you, is when I lose 10 pounds, then I'll be happy. Or when I land that client or job, then I'll be happy. Or when I make more money, then I'll be happy. These do not work. When we have the when-then mindset, we're basically telling our minds you can't be happy yet, you have more work that you have to do, just keep pushing happiness and fulfillment and relief and excitement a little bit more into the future, and then one day you'll get it. The problem is we end up living our life constantly waiting. And we don't realize that happiness doesn't work that way, losing 10 pounds, landing that job, making more money, often does not bring us happiness, in fact, it is typically the other way around. So, I want to flip the script a little bit. Here's what usually happens. We think about all these things that we want, right? So we were like oh yeah, I wanna get professional success, I wanna buy a house, gotta find a partner, we have this checklist, right? I'm sure a lot of you have checklists in your head of professional or career or life accolades we want to achieve, and we keep moving down the list. Here's the problem, is this does not work going across, we don't usually find professional success and then get happiness, we typically find professional success and then say we have to buy a home, and then we still don't go over to happiness because then we have to find a partner, and then we're like oh no, I still can't have happiness, I have to pay off my student loans. But wait, wait, I can't have happiness yet, I just gotta buy that car, I've been waiting to buy that car, right? And so we end up going down the list forever, and never making the crossover over to happiness. So, it's actually a barrier there. I believe, and this is perfectly defined by this quote by Jim Carrey, that we often choose our path disguised as practicality even though it comes out of that fear place, that scarcity mentality. And so, because we move down this list because we're afraid that if we just take a moment to be happy, it might get us off track, right? So, we tell ourselves gotta be practical, gotta be responsible, gotta be logical, and so we keep moving down the list as opposed to going across. Okay, so this is one of my favorite activities, and I really would like you to do this at home. If you wanna put your answers in the chat, or you can Tweet me on Facebook, I'm @vvanedwards, or you use our hashtag, which is #powerofhappy. Okay, so this is for your guys in your workbook as well as in the bonus materials, we have it printed out for our audience at home, so this is an area that I call your happiness script, which are the hidden rules that we have in our head that we've told ourselves will equal happiness, these are little formulas that we've created for ourselves. So, I want you to look through these, and if you would be open to sharing, what pops into your head when you read some of these? So, they are when blank happens, I'll be happy. Any fill ins, willing to share? Yes? So, I've done a lot of work on this, and I'm able to climb out, but I mean, I used to fill in anything, when anything happens, like I would be able to put anything in there, I was looking for a different job, a career, weight loss, everything, I was just waiting for tomorrow to be happy. Okay, so I call that swap sickness, okay? And I'm so glad you brought this up, because what happens is, and it's very similar to that long list, is that because we don't exactly know, happiness is sort of a fuzzy concept, we're like well, I don't feel happy right now when I got that thing that I wanted, so we'll just add the next thing on the list, and so we just keep swapping things into that phrase, and just hoping that it will come some time in the future. So, I'll be happy when I make X more money, is that an issue for anyone here? More money is sort of a blocker to happiness? Yeah, so I think that sometimes we feel like either money can buy us more happiness, or that money will give us more freedom, and there is a certain sense of truth to that. However, as we will learn, more money does not always mean more happiness. If I lost X number of pounds I would be so happy, right, you hear this all the time, we say this to each other. As soon as blank happens, I'll be happy, right? A raise, I find a partner, I buy that car. So, what I want you to do is I want you to think about what these scripts are at home, and also what I have for you is a couple of extra activities in the bonus materials that you can look at. Here are the myths, here's the reason why these scripts do not work according to the science. So by the way, whenever you see a blue and white slide, you know that I'm gonna talk nerdy to you, I'm gonna bring you some research. Whenever I have a yellow and white slide, it usually means I'm gonna talk about happiness patterns. I like color coding, right, I can't help it, my high conscientiousness. So, myths, and I'm just gonna view these studies real quick. Rich people aren't happier. In one study, they took Forbes 400 richest Americans and they gave them a quiz very similar to the happiness audit asking for their happiness levels. They did the same thing with Pennsylvania Amish, and they found they had the exact same happiness number, the 400 richest Americans and the Pennsylvania Amish, so the amount of income level is not usually what dictates our happiness. Pretty people aren't happier, so there was a study that was done, I love this title, Happiness and Despair on the Catwalk, where they studied the prettiest people, literally the prettiest people in the world, supermodels, and they had them do a very similar questionnaire to the happiness audit, and they found that not only are they not as happy as the average American, but they're actually less happy. And they're supposedly the prettiest among us. Winners aren't happier, when they look at lottery winners, they found that, we hear people say oh, as soon as I win the lottery, all my problems will be fixed, right, and we all have our own version of the lottery oftentimes in our life. So, lottery winners a year after they win the lottery had the same level of happiness from before they won the lottery, right? Which is usually we think of it as life changing, but actually it does not change their happiness levels at all. I think that it is easier for us as humans to focus on wealth and career building than it is to focus on happiness building. When I was talking about it being too personal, it is so much easier to take a course or fill our a checklist on our career goals. It is much, much harder to focus on interpersonal happiness, but that is a fuzzy idea. And so, it's actually just easier, not only is it more attractive when we think it will work, but it feels a little bit safer. So, today and in the next 10 days, I want to give you skills to make the happiness building piece even easier than the career building piece. I want to actually give you steps for it, a formula, a framework that we can think about for happiness. So, does anyone relate to this? Professional success feels easier than tackling happiness? Does this sound familiar? Yeah, very much familiar to me, a couple greens, a couple reds, interesting. So, this was definitely a trap that got me, and the professional success checklist definitely trapped me in the very beginning because I just didn't know how to even begin to think about happiness. So, this is me circa one and a half, and this is the reason why I started this work. So, for many, many years growing up, I was on the sort of checklist, I was very achievement oriented, and I was not feeling oriented. So, what ended up happening was I went to high school and college, and the unhappiest day of my life, by far, was my college graduation. My college graduation, I sat there and I hated my college experience, I did not like where I was going, and I was incredibly confused about why I had chosen this track, and I was on a real corporate America kinda business track, and I realized that I had chosen all of my courses, my clubs, my electives, based on what other people told me I should do, what I thought sounded good, what I thought sounded impressive, and I was miserable. That was the very first moment where I decided, I actually told my parents I was not going to go into corporate America, that I was gonna start my own business. And it was the first time that I had ever decided that I was going to do something 'cause it felt good, and not because it sounded good, 'cause it didn't. Right, people were like you're gonna do what? And so, this course is very personal for me because it's taken me many, many years to get through very, very sad years that I had growing up. And so, I am not one of those people who was born happy. I had to learn happiness, I have to practice happiness, I have to work at it. And so, if you are born happy, I would love to study you, come into my lab, I'd love to learn from you, but if you were not born happy, that does not come as naturally to you, I hope this course will help you, because these are the exact tools that I use. I love this Chinese proverb, and it's going to be sort of the theme throughout the course, and this is what I thought on my graduation day, that I wish I had, in high school, taken courses I had liked. I wish I had made different decisions. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, but the second best time is right now. And so, I believe that you are here for a reason. You know, this is a very unique course for Creative Live, for most of us, we don't take courses on happiness, I think that everyone who's at home who clicked on the button that said you know, there's something about this course that intrigues me. All of you who took time out of your lives to come here, I think that you are here for a reason. There is something about this idea where you know there is something more for you, and so I am so, so grateful that you are here, 'cause I cannot wait to teach you some new skills. I want us to stop waiting, right, I want us to when-then mindset, that happiness comes now, we're making it a priority throughout this entire course. Here's the good news, is that money can't buy happiness, but happiness can make you more money. So, if I didn't give you motivation enough to wanna learn happiness, it also, studies show, can increase your income. So, here's how happiness works if actually we flip the script around. So, instead of all those professional successes coming first, actually, happiness increases all of those things, and here's what the science has to say about that. One, happy people make an average of 1,766 dollars more per year than unhappy people. Over the course of 18 months, when they look at employees, they found that happiness is the greatest predictor of job performance. So, when they tracked employees, they found the employees who got improved job performance through 18 months, those also were the happiest employees, right? So, there's a relationship between our effectiveness and our fulfillment. I love this one, so they actually tracked teens over 10 years, and they found that in high school, unhappy teens 10 years later made about 30 percent less income. So, think about where you wanna be 10 years from now, right, wouldn't you rather be happier and making more money? I think yes, right? Green cards all around, right? Green cards all around. And happy employees take 15 less sick days than unhappy employees, so also happiness contributes to our health and wellbeing, and in day nine, we're gonna be talking about the physical side of happiness, our physiology. Also, forgive me, I love this chart, I do love charts, I had to take out some 'cause there was a lot, but this is actually a chart of income and happiness in the United States. What they found was, so here's the income line, so as you can see, from 1945 to 2000, income just keeps going up, right? We keep going higher and higher and higher. When you look at percentage of happy people, we've actually gone down. So, even though as our income goes up, our happiness stays the same, and the problem is we focus most of our day and energy on increasing our income generating activities, on our business, on our effectiveness, on our productivity, right, we talk a lot about productivity, and by the way, when I was sitting down to think about my next Creative Live course, I had mentioned in my last course that I was thinking about doing a productivity course. And I was sitting down to think about what did I want to work on next, and I had a whole outline for a productivity course, and I had a whole outline for a happiness course, and I was looking at the two, and I remembered this chart, and I was like you know, if I had to gift the world anything, it would not be to get more work done, you know? And maybe one day I'll do a productivity course, but I would much rather teach someone to be happier, so I think that we focus a lot on productivity and getting more done that actually doesn't serve us. I believe that happiness is the cause of success, it is not the byproduct of it. Happiness does not happen because we are successful, success happens because we are happy. The happier we are, the better we are to our employees and our colleagues, the better we are to our partners, the better we are to our friends. Happiness actually makes us more successful in everything that we do, can I get a hoorah for that? Hoorah. So, the big question now, now that I've hopefully thoroughly convinced you that happiness is important, shall we dig into the actual skills? All right, what do happy people do differently? That's the big question, that's what I wanted to know, since I was not one of those people who was born naturally happy. So, at the very end, we did this academic review of 246 studies, we created an audit based on these 246 studies, and then we had thousands of responses. We literally had over 10,000 responses in this happiness audit. Hopefully after today, we're gonna get up into 20, so then we can really have a lot of robust data. So, we took all this data and we started to look for patterns. What was the difference between the happiest people and the unhappiest people who took the audit? We found there were significant differences in the way the happiest people, people who got those very high ratings, people who got low ratings, the way they thought, the way they behaved, and the decisions they took throughout the day. And they weren't big ones. Some of them were big, but a lot of them were actually things that were incredibly doable. So, what I want us to do right now is I want us to do a little happiness warm up to get us started before we go into these skills. So, this happiness warm up is actually in your workbook for you. So, specifically, this course is hopefully going to touch every area of your life, however, I realize that it's actually helpful to focus in on one area, especially for some of the activities, to sort of target some of your goals. So, this is a targeting exercise where I want us to sort of hone in on a specific area of your life. So, this is called Happy ROI, right, putting our effort into the area that's going to give us the maximum amount of benefit. So, where do you need more happiness in your life? When we're talking about happiness, we know that it kind of blends into, or it is a lever for different areas, specifically I think there are five areas we will be talking about mostly in this course. Number one, career, right, and this is, by the way, if you're employed, self employed, run your own business, do a little hobby business on the side, whatever career means to you, that is okay, it's not just for entrepreneurs or photographers, right? Second, health, right, how you feel in your physical body. Third, family, your family relationships with your spouse, with your children, with your parents. Friendships, your social life, the relationships you have with people who support you. And lastly, this is the big one, your legacy. So, maybe you're taking this course thinking about some longer term goals. So, if you had to pick one of these areas, and in your workbook I actually am gonna have you go through all of them, but right now, if you had to pick one of these areas you wanted to focus on, I would love to hear from you guys, what area are you gonna focus on? You could pick one or two, I'll give you one or two. You wanna share? Yes? I'm gonna say health. Health, number one, love it, okay. Julienne, yes? I'm gonna say career and health. Right, Andrea? I'd say family and health. I would choose career and family. Career and family, a lot of careers, okay good, yes? Legacy and friendship. Career and friendships. Okay good, they're all across, I think we hit all of them, which is great. So, as you'll see just by us in the audience, we have totally different goals, and that is actually good, and I want you to keep those front of mind when we're going through the different activities, your specific areas. So, when we talk about happiness strategies, we're gonna be talking about this in all different areas, right? It's at work, at play, at home, professional, social, personal, I'm gonna be giving examples from all different areas of life, for entrepreneurs, for parents, for couples, and I actually really encourage if you are in a couple, taking this course together, it's one of the best things you can do for bonding, and we're gonna be talking about that with our partner and Joy in a little bit. Here's the thing, no one else will prioritize your happiness except you, especially if you feel pulled in many directions at home, pulled by many directions at work, no one else is going to decide you know what? I'm gonna make Vanessa happier today, that's gonna be my priority number one. So, if we keep pushing it off, it will never get slated first. So, I want us to start making our happiness our priority. I also believe, and this is when we get into happiness worthiness, so we have all these worthiness prerequisites, and a lot of the times we feel like oh, focusing on my happiness feels selfish, right? Oh, I don't wanna focus on my happiness, that means I'm putting other peoples' needs second. So, if you are struggling with this, what I want you to think about is that your happiness is a gift, and your happiness is contagious. So, according to the science, this is a really interesting mathematical analysis that was done of networks. What they found, that a person is 15 percent more likely to be happy if they are directly connected to another happy person. In other words, we tend to congregate around happy people, and our happiness helps other people focus on their happiness. So, when you are putting other peoples' needs first and you are feeling stressed and depressed and anxious, that can actually infect them by feeling more anxious and stressed. So, when you focus on your happiness, it's also a gift to everyone around you. The next big question, are happy people just born happy? Here's the good news, some happy math for us. So, when we look at the happiness research, and by the way, I didn't like math in school, so this is the only kinda math I do like, they found that about 50 percent of our happiness is genetic, so we are born with about 50 percent of our happiness set, our levels. About 10 percent is the environment, so where we live, how we live, the material objects that we have, the people that we are married to. And about 40 percent is our behavior and our mindset. Now, this should be surprising to most of us, because most people focus all their energy on the 10 percent, right? We think about upgrading our car, upgrading our house, moving to a different neighborhood, buying this thing, but actually, that's putting 100 percent of our effort in something that will only give us 10 percent return. That is a terrible kind of ROI. So, I'm going to be focusing mostly on this 40 percent. This 40 percent that's much harder to leverage when we don't have actual skills to do it. I think I wanna put 100 percent effort into something that's going to give us 40 percent return. It's a much better return on our energy investment. And the way that I've decided to do this, the best metaphor I have for this is kind of a happiness structure. So, if you think about a building, right, the more supports there are in a building, the stronger the roof is. So, I believe every skill that you master is like adding one more pillar to that support structure. If we can start with just one or two, that's good, that will keep it up. But every time you add a different skill to it, you become stronger and stronger. So, every day we'll be exercising a different part of our brain.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Desktop Backgrounds
Power of Happiness Workbook

Free Bonus Materials

Best Future Selves
Citation List
Happiness Audit
Happiness Benefits
Happiness Means Forgiveness
Happiness Scripts
Happiness Structure
Happy Calendar
Happy Reading List
K10 Test For Distress
Partner In Joy
The 4 Motivators
The Giving Warmup
Virtual Toolbox

Ratings and Reviews

Naomi Leila

I am so grateful for this course and for Vanessa. I took this course a few weeks ago and my happiness audit was at 100 neither happy nor unhappy. Now i feel so much happier and everything in my life has improved as a ripple effect and i am 134 on the happiness audit. This course really pays off if you put the work in and follow Vanessa's amazing guidance. It is such a fun, uplifting and brilliant course, i highly recommend it to everyone.

Jennifer Lee

Do you want to find happiness? And take control of your life, and ignite happiness in others? Are you looking to boost your self confidence or looking for ways to make your world a better place? If you said YES to these questions and are curious about the power of happiness, please check out The Power Of Happiness course with Vanessa Van Edwards! This course will awaken you and empower you with practical steps. Check it out. I guarantee you will be glad that you made the investment! Jennifer Lee A student of The Power Of Happiness

user 0f04a2

Vanessa's Happiness class is a perfect mix of tools and play. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to create true happiness in life, and create visibility with other like-minded happy people!

Student Work