The Chemistry of Happiness

This morning, on Your Caregiving Journey, Elizabeth Lombardo, author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness” joined us to answer the question: How much of our happiness can we control? (You can listen to our show via the player at the bottom of the post.)

Elizabeth shared research which shows that we about 40% of our happiness is within our control. Our genetics and our circumstances affect the other 60%.

So, how do we make the most of the 40%? Elizabeth shared some suggestions:

1. Set goals which shoot to change a mindset or perspective or behavior for the better.

2. Make your happiness a priority.

3. Let go of “conditional” happiness, i,e., believing you can have happiness only if (you have money, you have a big house, you have really great family members).

4. Take charge of your happiness; avoid letting others determine whether or not you have a good day (or a good life).

5. Be confident. Belief in yourself. You have the power to make positive changes in your life.

After you’d had a chance to listen to the show, please feel free to share any feedback or insights.


  • During our show, Elizabeth indicated she could not find research that addresses the challenge of being happy during a caregiving experience. Hurray for us because we’ve got a research project about caregiving and happiness under way! Join us–you’ll help us learn how we increase happiness during a difficult time. The Caregiving Happiness Project will help you set goals which can change your perspective.
  • On Saturday on Table Talk at 9 a.m CT, we’ll discuss this question: If my caree is not happy, does that mean I’ve failed in my caregiving role?

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3 Comments on "The Chemistry of Happiness"

Donna Ryan
Aug 26, 2010

Wow!!…I was just speaking to another caregiver this morning and I was saying how I dont fit in and that really I dont have it hard as so many of my friends here and then I listen to a show and something hits me where I feel WOW…now this is where I do fit in….
I know it is easier for me to be happier than many others. My life really is not bad or hard these just gets lonely and difficult sharing my space with my 91 year old Mom and I wish I could inspire other daughters in my spot…empty nest finally and them mom gets old and needs me but she isnt terribly ill situations…but there isnt a huge audience in this…….it should have been him and me and again we are three so to speak…

Everyone knows I make happiness a priority in my life and really always have!!…I think I got this from my Aunt. She taught me to be fun and take what your dealt with a smile..Kevin and I were just speaking of this on Saturday.
the dr. called…kevin was told my aunt had acute leukemia…he and I cried in the kitchen and we told Sean to go into her room and distract her…we wipe our tears and go in…we tell her the dr. called and she has a very bad blood disease..and she smiled at us and said is that all, well thank god, by the looks on your faces I thought you were going to tell me you wanted me to move..she then laughed and said lets make a pot of coffee…
we did and she told us it will be what it will be. We will make the best of it…we will continue to enjoy each other for as long as we can…Kevin said the other night…what a special person…
I told the caregiver this morning…it is about me now…I will be a good and loving daughter but by 51 it is a little about me…so I do have the confidence in making me happy…..Just like my Aunt somehow kept herself and all of us happy….It was a choice she made…She was leaving us with a smile….

Thank you Elizabeth for reminding me…YES I most definately am a wonderful person…and even though Mom is here I am making her world a nicer place and I am sacrificing…but I am a wonderful person for bringing her here versus her living alone where by now would probably have either hurt herself or possibly even have passed away….I am keeping her safe, nourished and loved….

This show was so helpful as you ended…It was great….so I do congratulate myself and I do celebrate myself and I am a very silly and happy person…..As Aunt Hilda always told me but mom cannot say you are a special girl!!!!!
and I dont feel like I fit in anywhere but I am still happy for being ME
Now I would love to hear all the reasons the rest of you will congratulate and celebrate yourselves

Aug 26, 2010

Wow, Donna, I haven’t listened to this show yet, but I’m definitely going to! Denise, I’d be interested in hearing if any of us feel like we fit in. Like Donna, I know I don’t. I also don’t find my situation as difficult as other people’s situations and feel guilty that I’m sometimes challenged, but we’re all individuals and what’s difficult for one person may not be for another.

And Donna, I say that you are not just special, but an amazing, inspiring, wonderful person! You inspire me with your positive, upbeat attitude!

Aug 26, 2010

And jumping ahead to Saturday’s Table Talk, I say, “Absolutely not!” We can’t control someone else’s happiness no matter what we do. At times we can barely control our own. Nothing we do can make someone else happy. In my Dad’s case, there was only one thing that would have made him happy, but I could not bring my Mom back. Sometimes he was happy-ish, and I was happy for those days.