How can I be happier?

This is typically a common question people from all walks of life ask at one point in their lives. Things that make a person happy vary from one person to another, but according to a certain institution, there’s an actual formula to happiness.

Happiness, according to the School of Positive Psychology, results from three things:


The Brain’s Set-Point (S) + Conditions of Living (C) + Voluntary Actions (V).

The Brain’s Set-Point

We are built to see a situation as negative or positive. The environment that you are in and how others see you usually affect this kind of thinking. Your parents passed on their perceptions to you as well as your ancestors. Your parents and their genes affect 50% your brain’s set point or basis point for happiness. There is nothing you can do to change this 50%, but you can still do something about the remaining 50%.


Bad News:

It won’t be that easy.

You could change from being a pessimist to a more optimistic person. You can program yourself to see challenges as opportunities, instead of problems. In extension, you can go from Mr. Grouchy Pants to Mr. Sunshine.

This can be achieved by changing the way you see things, or the lenses you see the world in. For others, this could be achieved through meditation.

Conditions of Living

This would include your work, financial condition, relationship status, physical environment, as well as your health. These conditions are usually external, and are always changing. This is why they do not comprise much of the formula to be happy, and only take up 10% of a person’s total happiness levels.

Voluntary Choices and Your Perspective

Personal actions and fulfilment influence our happiness. These two play a role in determining whether a person is happy or not. Personal actions include daily activities such as eating your favourite food, enjoying a hobby, going shopping, and even a healthy sexual relationship.

Fulfilment, on the other hand, goes deeper into a person. It’s a person’s purpose, drive and perspective. It’s largely affected by how he sees the world and how he reacts to what is happening around him.

How a person makes other people happy has a great impact on a person’s happiness. The fastest way to feel happiness is always through making other people happy. Thus, these choices make up 40% of the happiness formula.

Changing the feeling of unhappiness in a person’s life does not entirely depend on external sources, but rather it comes from within. The feeling of happiness form within lasts longer than any happiness brought forth by material and worldly things.

Your Challenge:

He certainly looks happy!

Instead of relying on others (or your pay check) for your happiness, look to yourself first.

Concentrate, and then ask yourself “How could I be happy today?”

Tell me what you think in the comments.

Photo Credit: cutglassdecanter via Compfight cc

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Paul Bailey

Paul is a highly experienced Business Coach, Mentor and Personal Development Specialist. He works with people to enhance business and personal performance through a process of supported self-awareness and self- development. Paul is the Co-Author of the book 80 Tips.