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The Three Equations for a Happy Life, Even During a Pandemic

https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2020/04/how-increase-happiness-according-research/609619/

theatlantic.com

The Three Equations for a Happy Life, Even During a Pandemic
"How to Build a Life" is a new column that aims to give you the tools you need to construct a life that feels whole and meaningful. It seems strange to launch a column on happiness during a pandemic. The timing is, well, awkward, isn't it? Maybe not.

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Studying happiness

Studying happiness

Religion, philosophy, and the arts have long considered happiness a subject important to study. 

The sciences, however, have only recently caught up: the scientific study of happiness has exploded over the past three decades.

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Subjective well-being = Genes + Circumstances + Habits

  • Subjective well-being is preferred by social scientists instead of happiness because it's not so vague and subjective. 
  • Research shows there is a big genetic component in determining the baseline you always seem to return to after events sway your mood.
  • Circumstances could make up between 10- and 40 percent of your subjective well-being. But their effects never last very long.
  • The one variable that affects long-term well-being and is under our control: habits.

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Habits = Faith + Family + Friends + Work

Constant happiness comes from human relationships, meaningful work, and the transcendental elements of life:
  • Faith doesn’t mean any faith in particular. Just find a structure through which you can contemplate life’s deeper questions.
  • When it comes to your family and friendships and how they should be, just cultivate and maintain loving, faithful relationships. There is no magic formula.
  • What makes work meaningful is not the kind of work it is, but the sense it gives you that you are earning your success and serving others.

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Satisfaction = What you have ÷ What you want

Don’t obsess about your haves; manage your wants, instead. 

Don’t count what you own (in terms of money, power, status, or romantic partners) and try to figure out how to increase them; make an inventory of the attachments that you need to discard instead. Then, make a plan to act on eliminating them.

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Dalai Lama
"We need to learn how to want what we have not to have what we want in order to get steady and stable Happiness.”

Dalai Lama

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