The Happiness Formula

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Often clients come to see me and state "I want to be happy. How can I do that?" My first response is "First you have to make a decision that you will be happy. It is so much easier to reach a goal if you first decide with conviction that you will succeed. The second step is to focus on the things for which you can be thankful rather than focusing on all the troubles and problems in your life and in the world.

I was watching a television special with Deepak Chopra last weekend and was very surprised when he explained that there is a formula for happiness notated as H = S + C + V where the H represents happiness.

S is the "set point" or conditions in the brain (attitude) which is responsible for about 40 to 50 percent of a person's happiness on a daily basis according to Chopra. Each of us has a set point to which we default after either good or bad happens to us.

C stands for conditions of living (mostly physical) which contribute between 7 and 12 percent at most to our happiness. Even if things drastically improve or deteriorate in our lives we will return to our set point after a period of time.

V is voluntary choices that we make which contribute 40 to 50 percent towards happiness. When we choose to focus on personal pleasure, our happiness is only temporary and this will fade after 24 hours. If we express our creativity, find meaning in life, or determine our purpose then we will have more long-lasting happiness. About 40 percent of the happiness experience is found through this portion of the formula as it involves making other people happy.

Todd Kashdan who is a psychologist at George Mason University in Virginia, states that he has also developed a formula for happiness that involves six specific factors. moment (M), being curious (C), doing something you love (L), thinking of others (T), nurturing relationships (N), and taking care of your body (B). Mr. Kashdan claims that there is no secret to feeling good, however, when these six factors are taken care of, in the right doses, people are going to be on target to leading a happy life.

The research commissioned by Transform Cosmetic Surgery, found the formula: Feeling Good = (Mx16 + C + Lx2) + (Tx5 + Nx2 + Bx33).

Sounds a little complicated, doesn't it? These are important but I like to keep it simple.

If you want to be happy today and for the next year and the years to come, perhaps you should start with making a decision! And then learn to focus not on the problems in your life and the world but on the things for which you are thankful! When you do this, it will be so much easier to say "HAPPY New Year" and mean it!

HAPPY New Year, everyone!


Dr. Linda Hancock, the author of “Life is An Adventure…every step of the way” and “Open for Business Success” is a Registered Psychologist who has a private practice in Medicine Hat. She can be reached at 403-529-6877 or through email office@drlindahancock.com


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