Whenever the question is asked of what people really want in life the resounding anwer is to be happy! But what does it mean to be happy and is there a formula for happiness?
In 2014, a team of scientists at UCL in London were commissioned with the task of discovering the happiness formula. They tested 18,420 participants and came up with the following happiness equation:
H = S + C + V
H stands for Happiness,
S stands for your Cellular Set Point,
C stands for Conditions of living, and
V stands for Voluntary actions
They worked out the percentage breakdown of the different parts and what they discovered was really interesting.
They found that 50% of your happiness is actually made up by your cellular set point. That’s half of all your happiness coming from this part.
Only 10% of your happiness comes from your Conditions of living. That’s it. Just 10%, with the other 40% coming from voluntary actions (or choices you make daily.)
Most people usually focus the majority of their attention on changing their conditions of living to create more happiness in their lives, but as the above equation shows, that only makes up 10% of your happiness.
So let’s break it down and look at the equation:
Your cellular set point, the S. This is your balance point that all of your cells, including your unconscious mind, will always try and find a way to return to.
Everyone has different set points with some having a higher set point so their average day will be happier than someone elses with a lower set point.
This is like the saying people who’s cup is half full or half empty.
So can you increase your cellular set point?
Yes you can by spending the majority of your time feeling the feelings of the happiness you want through activities like visualisation, meditation, exercise or conciously deciding to focus on what makes you feel good and happy.
Any activity that replicates these feelings, the feelings of happiness, will actually help change your set point because they will create new good feelings for your cells to get hooked on.
C: the conditions of living. We live in a world where materialistic values are all over our TV, from Keeping up with the Kardashians to MTV Cribs. You can try to change your conditions of living by buying items you think will bring you happiness but it won’t have a massive impact on your happiness because as we know from the equation it only makes up 10% of your actual happiness.
The happiness that you get from shopping is actually quite short lived. Research has shown that the happiness that you feel when you’ve purchased something that you love ONLY lasts one to three days.
Yet, this is still the number one way humans use to try and improve their happieness. It is the go to way to feel happier, to gain happiness, across the planet, in any country in the world. We think this is the best way because the powerful marketing and media companies are designing adverts to convince us that their product, home or accessory will guarantee you happiness, but unfortunately, you now know this type of happiness is only temporary.
Think about it for a second. Ask yourself .How much time do you actually dedicate to increasing your conditions of living?
Are you spending a large majority of your time trying to make money so you can buy that extravagent item, or do this next big thing, to change your condition of living.
As you now know how little an effect it actually has on your happiness, you may find that now is a good time to re assess some of your goals.
Saving the best to last V: voluntary actions or choices you make daily. Ask yourself this question:
When something happens to you during your day, what meaning do you give it? Is it an empowering meaning or a disempowering meaning? And based on that meaning, what type of voluntary choice or action do you take as a result?
When something happens take control of the meaning,make sure you give it an empowering meaning and then, off the back of that meaning, take an action that’s actually going to create yourself more happiness.
As 40% of your happiness comes from here this is a good one to pay attention to.
Examples of this are –
If someone cuts you up in traffic once it has happened you can spend the next few hours pissed off and cursing the other driver leaving you feeling angry and low energy (Disempowering).
Instead send them a wish for their safety as they are driving dangerously and let it go to focus on something you are excited about doing that day. (Empowering)
You miss the bus/ train you needed to get to work on time so spend the time waiting for the next bus/train panicking and stressed (Disempowering)
Instead contact work so they know, then use the extra time to call a loved one, send a message to a friend or listen to something inspiring while you wait so you are feeling good when when you do arrive (Empowering)
Happiness has a formula and now you know how it works you can use it to create more lasting happiness in your life easily and not by buying the next new flashy item which you now know only creates short lived happiness.