I received an email this week, suggesting that a UK university offered a formula for happiness. Do you think that happiness can be filtered down to just 3 factors? Well, the email's author gave the following formula:
H = C + V + S.
Where H = Happiness, C = Conditions of Living, V = Voluntary Actions or Choices, and S = Cellular Set Point, ... with the ratio 10: 40: 50.
That means that your conditions of living (the material stuff of life) account for 10% of your overall happiness. Shopping would not, I repeat NOT, fill that void. Having a life of comfort will not necessarily make you happy if the other elements are not optimal, such as your cellular set point and your voluntary actions and choices.
According to the email's author, the cellular set point is a quirky little baseline to which we all naturally reset ourselves after an emotional high or low. It's our resting happiness level, that lives inside our cells. Imagine each cell in your body has old-fashioned scales, and they get balanced after each emotional fluctuation (like losing a point to the opposition, and then scoring your own goal for your team).
You might think that it's something people are born with; that some are naturally happier than others, because of their life circumstances. But no; that's not completely right, because you can use visualisation and meditation to get yourself to the cellular set point that you want.
Personally, I think there are some other ways to get you there too, like physical activity; it could be cooking, playing sport, creating artworks, or playing the glockenspiel. So, there are plenty other ways to help you develop a happier mindset, but I can concur about visualisation and meditation too! They most certainly can help ...
The way you use visualisation and meditation, to get yourself to the cellular set point that you want, is by feeling the feelings you want to feel, in your visualisation and meditation practice. This gets your body's cells (including those in your brain) accustomed to feeling those happy feelings, and the vibe that you create becomes embedded in those cells. They pass on the new vibe via your cells' DNA when they are replaced by new cells. Before you know it, you're a new you, with a new mindset and new muscle memory!
So, 50% of your happiness can be accounted for by your cellular set point, and you can manipulate it to make it work better for you.
So that brings us back to the 3rd element in happiness: The actions we take and the choices we make. According to the email's author, this is worth 40% of the value of happiness. That means that you have at least 40% control over your happiness. The choices you make and the actions you take have a huge influence on how happy you can be. If you add, maybe, another 10% from the little bit of effort that you put into visualisation and meditation, then you have a 50-50 shot at happiness, every day!
Is that enough? Do you want more? And what does it mean to make choices and take actions? It might be easier to think in terms of a R.A.P.I.D. Results Coaching Session. The acronym, RAPID, is a roadmap that you can follow, to achieve your goals.
It starts with Results - that's right, you start with the endpoint in mind. What do you want? What, specifically, would you like? This is where you set a goal.
For instance, you might want to be healthier, wealthier or wiser. You might want more material security, or to contribute to your community. You might want more friends, or deeper relationships. You might want to focus on a specific area of your life or lifestyle.
Let's use one example, that you hate your lounge suite because it's so old and uncomfortable. According to The Game of Life wheel that follows, that's a "home and lifestyle item", yes? How do you go about getting a replacement that you love?
Well, think about how well-aligned you are. Alignment isn't about your spine; it's about how congruently you live. What is "out of kilter"? Why haven't you managed to achieve that goal yet?
What would it take to overcome your obstacles, so that your head and heart are on the same page, and your hand is turning that page to the next?
If we use the lounge suite example, why haven't you gone out and bought a new lounge suite? Is it all too overwhelming to go shopping? Are lounge suites too expensive? Are you not able to find one that has the right colour, legs, style, size etc? List your obstacles, but also, list what you CAN DO.
Now, what do you need to make a Plan? What resources do you need? Should you do some research or learn a new skill? Note all the small steps you would take to move toward your goal.
Sure, it might be an incredibly long list, but you will get a buzz every time you tick off another tiny item (I promise). Include the positive reinforcements that will help you to keep going. They are the things that make you feel better, so that when you do achieve something (or you learn from a setback), you have something that makes you comfy-cosy about it.
So, if you need more money to buy the lounge suite you want, you might ensure you are earning enough to save for it. You might lay-buy it, and pay off a little each week until it's yours. Or, you might not be able to find what you want, so you decide to learn furniture-making so you can make it yourself!
What's your Plan? Better still, what's your Schedule? Give yourself deadlines.
A plan is nothing without action, and that means you need to Implement it. This is the time in which you take action on the steps and positive reinforcements that you identified in your Alignment List and then organised into your Plan and Schedule. Meet your deadlines, and pat yourself on the back for every tiny win, and everything that you learn along the way. And remember, that "Life rewards action", as Benjamin Harvey would say.
Everything you do will have other positive flow-on effects, so allow the Benevolent Universe to pay you what your efforts are worth!
Now, you might be wondering about the last word in the acronym. "Develop" is normally where I, as your coach, would develop you into your own best coach. If you want to know more about this, then you'll be wanting to book in with me for coaching. I promise not to bite!
Now, getting back to that email that I received. I went trawling the internet, trying to find the article that was referred to so I could give you the primary source. You know what? I couldn't find it! After years of being a scientist who can find these things, I couldn't find the one that was being referred to. Plenty others, but not the one in the email. So, don't believe everything you get in emails!!!
A publication with some other tips showed that good self-esteem and high levels of cooperation could help with bolstering happiness. There were other things to consider, but I think the take-home message of that article (to which most people could relate) was that we feel better when we work toward something with like-minded people.
So, laughing with friends and family, studying with study-buddies, or cleaning up waterways and planting native trees with Landcare could be great ways toward happiness. But according to a WHO publication, at a higher-up level (i.e., political), the things to improve include health, education on stress management and access to infrastructure.
Having said all that, though, there was some merit in the email. The merit was in it's simplification of an incredibly complex concept: Happiness. I want you to know that if happiness eludes you, there are ways you can try to find it. First, talk to the people in your life who care about you. If you don't know who they are, start with those who say hello (whether as the ones to start the conversation, or those who respond to you). Contact Lifeline, chat with your GP and get a referral to a psychologist or psychiatrist.
Book your appointment, and while you're waiting, contact me using one of the links I provided above. It's not about getting it perfect; it's about getting it started.
If you like the way I write, you will definitely enjoy my books, meditations, and meditation school. Maybe, a tarot and oracle card reading is more your thing; it's very personal (just you and me, over WhatsApp, followed up by your own summary email).
Either way, if you wish to consider what kinds of strategies you need in your life, I am a Certified Results Coach so a free strategy session over the phone, anywhere in the world is always a great start.
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