New Year and the Quest for Happiness

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It is the New Year 2016. Everyone wishes each other ‘Happy New Year’ as they meet, or, through phone calls, texts, emails, and other electronic or social media. In fact, the month of January will witness a lot of Happy New Year wishes. We wish to be happy and wish that our families and loved ones are happy. This explains why we use this expression in the start of a New Year. In the new year, people will also make resolutions that they hope will eventually make them happy if they keep to them. This clearly indicates that the main purpose of our lives is to seek happiness.

What then is happiness? What makes people happy? Why is everyone not happy? Is happiness an illusion?  How can one maintain the state of happiness?

Happiness is defined as a state of well-being, characterized by the experience of positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Happiness is not something ‘ready-made’. It comes from your own actions and choices.

A formula has been produced by prominent positive psychology researchers, like Dr. Martin Seligman and Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, and promoted by people like Deepak Chopra, renowned endocrinologist and pre-eminent leader of the mind-body-spirit movement.  

Their formula is:   H = S + C + V 

H: Happiness,  S: Our biological set point,  C: Conditions of living and  V: Voluntary actions or choices we make daily. Based on their research they arrived at the following breakdown:

S – 50%    Our biological set point – This is your set attitude to life and events. Are you an outgoing or a withdrawn person? Do you notice the wrong side of things first? Do you always complain or do you see obstacles as an opportunities? This biological set point indicates our inherited and preconditioned, subconscious beliefs. With conscious effort and awareness, this can be improved.

C – 10%    Conditions of living – Your environment and financial state. Remember, being very rich or very poor does not make you happy.

V – 40%    Voluntary actions or choices we make everyday. – This is the most important. This involves choices for:

*Purely Personal Pleasure ( which in many cases are short-lived) 

*Creativity – doing something that gives your life a purpose                    

*Relationship – actions or choices that make other people happy – actions of kindness, affection, forgiveness, and appreciation, etc.

The conclusion this leads to is that a greater percentage of our state of happiness is based on actions and choices we make everyday and are under our control. These actions and choices consist of doing meaningful, good and pleasant things in our lives and in the lives of others. With conscious awareness, we can maintain the state of happiness.

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Happy New Year!

Read more on my post on ‘Happiness’ of November 14, 2014. https://philougbor.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/happiness/

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