So much has been written on the search for the “good life”. We all want to know how to find that sweet spot where our physical health and wellness is as its peak and our mental wellbeing is optimised. In fact at WCA we have written many articles on that topic, looking at lifestyles from different angles and helping ourselves and others examine they way they are living to discover whether it is the way they want to be living, or if there is a way of “tweaking” certain aspects to make it – well, better!
Finally, I have come across a formula that encompasses the elements that make up the notion of a “good life” and loving simplicity as I do, I had to share it!
H = S + C + V
There you go – simple. This stands for:
Happiness = Set Point + conditions + variables
The set point is our biological set point which has long been recognized as a fairly constant yet more and more we are seeing it as a range that can move depending on our environment, but is still somewhat measurable.
Conditions refers to those things that are relatively stable such as where we live, who we live with, our occupation etc. One important point to note is that we will often adapt to these conditions.. So for example, winning the lottery is fantastic at first, then in time, we become used to being richer and our happiness factor reverts to what it was before.
Variables are those things that we choose to do. And this is where lifestyle haibts come in. Mindfulness, physical exercise, our choice of nutrition, what we spend our money on, who we spend our time with etc. etc. these activities offer greater potential for increasing our happiness while avoiding the “adaptation principle” referred to above. (More on this in a later article.)
So the value in this view of happiness is to extend our way of thinking and come to the realization that although happiness comes from within, it also comes from outside, but in the words of Jonathan Haidt,, “You have to know where to look”.
Choosing how we choose to spend our time is the question that we all might address and there are many factors that will affect the value we will receive from those choices. .One is to identify where our strengths lie and become familiar with what activities use those strengths and do more of them! Learning to live more in the moment, achieving a good level of physical health and fitness and always working towards something, no matter how small, are other great ways of ensuring we are living life to the full. We’ll discuss more on pleasure versus gratification in a latter article, but for now, this may give you food for thought.