Calculating your Happiness with a Formula

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book.jpg Yes, you did read that title correctly. According to Jonathan Haidt in The Happiness Hypothesis one can actually calculate their happiness. How? Simply put: H=S+C+V. But, what does that really mean? Happiness equals set point + conditions of life + voluntary activities. Haidt breaks it down into our biological set point as one of the characteristics that determines happiness. You are born with a set of genes that help determine how happy you are and how you bounce back from bad situations. Haidt describes how people with a larger left frontal lobe are more likely to become happier after a sad situation than those without. Not only does ones biological sets determine their happiness but so does their life conditions. That is if you are living in a situation with a lot of death around you, if you are poor, or if you live in a high crime area this can all help or hurt your happiness. That along with your voluntary actions equal your happiness in total. Your voluntary actions mean what you choose to do daily. In the book, Haidt speaks about how those who volunteer, especially the older they are, the happier they are. So taking all of this into consideration you can't blame yourself if you're not always happy or if you don't have the ability to become happy like others do- that is determined by your biology. What you do have a choice over is the rest of the equation the conditions in which you set yourself and the voluntary actions you choose. Happiness is all about what you make it individually. No formula will be the same for two people. Haidt really brings this idea and so many more to life in his book. I have read his book in full and suggest for others to do. It helps you reflect on your life and the subconsciousness and unconscious choices you make everyday that help determine your happiness.
Check out his website for more awesome information: http://www.happinesshypothesis.com/

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This is very interesting, and definitely a topic I feel like a lot of people write about - happiness. It seems strange, however, that they really put this idea of "happiness" into an equation. The S part of the equation is interesting, but I think the C and the V could definitely be swung in other directions. I've met plenty of people who are happy despite their poor life conditions. I've also met people who do lots of volunteer work, but still do not feel fulfilled, or any happier. Overall, though, happiness is something our society really does value and it's interesting to see how much effort is spent trying to find he key to it...

I haven't read the book, but I have heard of happiness equations and I believe in it for the most part. I think we are predisposed genetically to act certain ways to situations as well as bounce back from them in a certain way, but our responses are also related, in part, to what we make them. Your blog was informative and I will probably read this book! I think we all would like to believe that our happiness can be made by our actions and emotional outlooks. Thanks!

I found your blog very interesting. I find it hard to believe that there is a universal equation for happiness because there are so many things that influence people and all people are very different. One thing could make one person very happy and it could make another person very sad. This book looks very interesting and I look forward to reading it.

Interesting post! It's little weird to calculate happiness and measure it with numbers but very interesting. I don't think S,C,V are enough information to calculate happiness but I think they could measure to some extent.

I really enjoyed reading your post! I had no idea there was an equation to being happy, but when you think about it, all of what Haidt describes is what makes you happy at the end of the day. It's interesting to hear how genes also play a part into how happy you can be, but this does make sense when you think about how depression can run into the family. Now i just need to make sure I am making choices everyday that will make me happy!

I think that this point of view is very interesting, although I personally have a few issues with it. I wonder what the author would say about events in one's life that couldn't possibly be predicted by a formula. They wouldn't be in the person's genes or even a voluntary thing. If someone had genes that stated that the person would be very happy and bounce back easily from saddness, that still wouldn't help them if someone close to them died or if they were heartbroken. I believe that we all experience periods of happiness and saddness and that although the equation seems semi reasonable, it can't be one hundred percent accurate. Feelings and math shouldn't mix.

This very interesting, as strange as that sounds it seems correct. All of those things that he mentioned do go into happiness but it also depends on how you feel about things. Good job!

Although I definitely agree that those factors contribute to ones happiness, I do not think you can simply use them to calculate happiness. I think this brings up the nature vs. nurture debate. Is happiness a part of your genes or is it based on environment or both?

The title of this blog impress me a lot. Happiness equals set point + conditions of life + voluntary activities. But I still cannot agree the happiness can simple defined our happiness. Maybe I will read this book someday.

This is a very interesting topic. Throughout my life, I've noticed that some people are naturally happier than others all the time. Now I know that this is also due biology and living conditions. When I was doing volunteer work a few years ago, I also noticed an increase in my levels of happiness. I was more satisfied with myself by helping others. Nice post!

This is a very interesting topic. Throughout my life, I've noticed that some people are naturally happier than others all the time. Now I know that this is also due biology and living conditions. When I was doing volunteer work a few years ago, I also noticed an increase in my levels of happiness. I was more satisfied with myself by helping others. Nice post!

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This page contains a single entry by dalyx196 published on April 1, 2012 10:32 PM.

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