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

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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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

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

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

5

Key Ideas

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.

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.

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.

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.

Dalai Lama

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.”

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Awe brings perspective

Each of us is the protagonist of our own life. Our goals feel like the most important thing in our world.

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Awe is an emotional response to being in the presence of something greater than yourself, and that exceeds current knowledge structures.

Awe is a positive emotion and has a broadening effect on our thoughts and actions.

Awe-inducing stimuli

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In modern times, the main triggers of awe are philosophical ones such as literature, music, paintings, and nature. Examples include natural wonders or events such as childbirth.

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Marcus Tullius Cicero
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero
What gratitude changes

Gratitude is intended to change three things: your past, your present, your future. 

If you’re not transforming your past, present, and future, then you aren’t fully experiencing the benefits of gratitude.

Live in the gain

Stop focusing on what's missing from your life. And rather than measuring yourself against your ideals, measure yourself against where you were before.

When you live in the gain, all you see is progress. What you focus on expands.

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Take total ownership of everything

Take personal responsibility for your successes, failures, your health, your happiness, etc.

Personal responsibility does not involve blaming yourself or anyone else. It's a...

Make the shift

... from a blame-based mindset to one of solutions and collaboration. 

When you're feeling stuck, unfulfilled or disconnected from who you are, it can be easier to blame outside circumstances and people.

Take a step back in every situation and ask yourself what you did to allow this to happen. Once you are aware of how you contributed to the situation, you can make the necessary changes in your life.

When it is not your fault

Regardless of what happens to you, be it a disease or a natural disaster, you are 100 percent responsible for how you choose to react.

The life-changing magic happens when you make the choice to respond positively. That is how you take personal responsibility when something completely out of your control makes an impact on your life.

Set Happiness Goals

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Sleep and happiness go hand in hand. Try to make your bedroom conducive to good sleep as much as possible.

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Drink Tea

Theanine, which is present in green and black tea, reduces anxiety and will calm your nerves and make you happy.

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Measuring happiness, which is a highly subjective emotion, is akin to getting your eye tested through the various lenses for your correct eye prescription number.

Measuring something as subjective as happiness can still provide usable results through the process of asking a critical mass of people so that any subjective inaccuracies cancel themselves out.

The Paradoxical Game Of Happiness
  • People are always pushing towards finding happiness in whatever circumstances that are thrust upon them.
  • Happiness and unhappiness both promote creativity, though of a different quality.
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Things that make us happy
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Irrelevant criteria

We know what will make us happy, but we don't know how to measure it. We measure our success by using social comparisons, like a salary, or with awards.

Because people tend to use vague criteria, they are never satisfied when they reach it and always want more. This leads to an unsustainable source of happiness.

Do what you enjoy

If you do what you enjoy and are naturally good at, and if you focus on it long enough, you will probably advance toward mastery anyway, and fame and money will be a byproduct.

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