OWN
12/07/2015 10:49 am ET

The Reason Some People Just Seem Happier Than Others

Are you a "Tigger" or an "Eeyore"?

It's a simple fact: Some people just appear happier than others. They've got a subtle spring in their step, they're often laughing and they can find the joy in just about anything. Everyone's got a friend like this -- they seem to operate on a slightly different wavelength than the rest of us.

Happiness researcher and The Happiness Project author Gretchen Rubin describes these consistently happy people as "Tiggers," as in the bounding optimist from Winnie the Pooh. On the opposite end of that spectrum are "Eeyores." When discussing Tiggers, Eeyores and happiness on Oprah's "SuperSoul Sunday," Rubin explained how everyone has a baseline level of happiness and a particular range in which it can rise and fall. In other words, the reason it seems as if some people are just consistently happier than others is because they are.

"About 50 percent, they think, is genetically determined. You're hard-wired that way," Rubin says. "And then about 10 to 20 percent is life circumstances, so that's things like age and health and occupation."

That leaves at least 30 percent of our baseline happiness within our immediate control. "The rest is really where our own thoughts and actions come in," Rubin states. "We all have our [baseline], but then we can push ourselves up to the top of that range -- or push ourselves down to the bottom of that range."

It's an empowering premise: To a certain extent, we can control our levels of happiness. Even Eeyores can create a shift, Rubin points out.

"Maybe one person's an Eeyore and one person's a Tigger, so their range would be different. But we can all do the best with what we have," she says.

In her own exploration of happiness, Rubin devoted a year of her life to making conscious changes in an attempt to be happier. The entire experience was incredibly eye-opening, but before it began, the author had to have an understanding of her own baselines happiness level and subsequent range.

"On a one 1 to 10 scale, I was a seven. I think my range is, like, six to nine," Rubin says. "I'm not a '10' person."

That baseline of seven changed, however, once Rubin began making small, manageable, concrete shifts in her everyday life.

"Instead of being around seven most of the time, I'm around eight or nine most of the time now," she says. "Because of my conscious thoughts and actions. I've done so much to get rid of the things that drag me down and to add the things that really lift me up."

"SuperSoul Sunday airs Sundays at 11 a.m. ET on OWN.

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