The Happiness Formula
June 25, 2012 in depression
The “happiness formula” was created by Lyubinsky, Sheldon, Schkade, and Seligman who study positive psychology at PENN state. What I love about their research is they really break down the components to happiness. The formula is H=S+C+V. Overall happiness (H) depends upon your biological set point (S) plus your lives’ conditions (C) plus the voluntary activates (V) you take part in.
There are interesting conditions that have been shown to potentially reduce or raise happiness. The first condition is noise you are exposed to. Research shows we never fully adapt to chronic sources of noise – it inferences with concentration and increases stress. Another negative condition is long, traffic-filled commutes. Again, it increases stress and we don’t fully adapt. However, ideal driving conditions can be relaxing and enjoyable.
Lack of control is another condition that takes away from our happiness. In a study by David Glass and Jerome Singer, when they gave people an option to turn off a loud, random burst of noise, they were less distressed even without turning it off. I know when I’m given a choice in my life I feel a lot less stressed. Research shows we have a greater sense of engagement, energy, and happiness we feel a sense of control.
One last condition that contributes to happiness is having positive relationships in our lives. The more relationships one has leads to a happier person, and happy people tend to value and enjoy relationships more. On the other hand, negative relationships can be extremely taxing on a persons’ happiness. With this amazing new research on happiness we can really break down our lives and evaluate how we can be happier people.
Haidt, Jonathan. The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom. New York: Basic, 2006. Print.