Blog from an honours student: Cracking the Code of Happiness

Blog from an honours student: Cracking the Code of Happiness

Cracking the Code of Happiness: Unraveling the formula for the uncontrollable 50%

By Radu Samson, 7. June 2023

Happiness, that elusive condition of being, is a goal pursued by people all over the world. However, defining happiness remains a subjective question that varies from person to person. Happiness can be defined as an emotional state characterized by joy, contentment, and fulfillment, as well as good feelings and a sense of life satisfaction. 

What Is Happiness and How Can You Become Happier?

However, diving further into the components that influence happiness reveals a tangled web of genes, surroundings, actions, and attitudes. In this blog post, we look at the important facets of non-genetic happiness, which is 50% of the total, such as life circumstances, and personal decisions.

50-10-40% formula | For a state of happiness 

Furthermore, after engaging in talks with SBMF Honours students and shedding light on their personal experiences a common thread was revealed: the fundamental importance of relationships in their search of happiness.

Exploring Perceived Happiness Standards

Considering the statement from above, a comprehensive examination of nations, encompassing three distinct quantitative variables, was conducted to elucidate three distinct types of relationships: romantic, friendly, and community oriented. The countries scrutinized in this study are those deemed outliers, exhibiting "abnormal" values within the analyzed variables, while the other countries indicated an anticipated result based on the correlation between the countries and the values.

“Abnormal” happiness vs “Normal” happiness

Considering the analysis from the above the report has found a very good example of an abnormally happy country, that does not fit the socially believed happiness standards and one that looks like the standards were created based on it. To put these two countries head-to-head a Hofstede analysis, which refers to a framework developed by Geert Hofstede that assesses cultural dimensions to understand and compare cultural values, beliefs, and behaviors across different countries or groups, took place and has again made the social believed factors that increase happiness irrelevant. However, there was one variable that seemed that it may give an answer to the problem, more specifically the high score for Long-term Orientation of the “abnormal” country, which suggests that there is a greater emphasis on self-restraint, moderation, and self-discipline, which will then promote discipline and self-control, which can positively affect happiness.

Hedonic Adaptation

One possible answer to high happiness scores in less economically fortunate countries lies in hedonic adaptation, a theory that states that we have a relatively stable level of happiness which doesn’t really fluctuate. That means any major events (good or bad) don’t have a lasting effect (positive or negative) on our overall happiness. As Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen explains, people can adapt to the most adverse circumstances if there is no way out. As a survival mechanism, they lower their expectations from life and find happiness in small pleasures that the rest of us take for granted.

Interplay of Hedonic Adaptation and Long-Term Orientation to the Formula of Happiness

The phenomenon of hedonic adaptation, wherein individuals swiftly revert to a baseline level of happiness after positive or negative events, may intersect with long-term orientation. Cultures emphasizing strategic planning and deferred gratification can influence individuals to set enduring goals, prioritize activities aligning with sustained well-being, and perceive short-term events as less impactful. This, in turn, encourages behaviors promoting long-term satisfaction and pleasure, fostering overall life contentment and a sustainable growth in general happiness.

A Funny, Yet Visible Connection

Within the realm of economics, the conceptual framework of the economic cycle embodies the natural oscillations inherent in an economy. This framework delineates distinct phases of expansion, characterized by growth, and contraction, denoted by recession. These cyclical patterns underscore the inevitability of these alternating phases. It is imperative to emphasize that governments and central banks have proactively devised and implemented fiscal and monetary policies aimed at mitigating the adverse impacts of these economic fluctuations. These policies are deliberately crafted to bolster and sustain a stable trajectory of long-term economic growth.

Applying this concept to our discourse, this concept delves into the role of long-term value orientation in minimizing deviations in hedonic adaptation, thereby influencing happiness. In this context, the "policy" equates to a broad-based, enduring long-term orientation. Consequently, individuals may perceive short-term positive events or experiences as less significant or meaningful within the framework of their long-term objectives, thereby mitigating the impact of such events. This, in turn, facilitates a healthier growth of happiness.

A Personal Perspective on Cultivating Joy and Fulfillment

Obtaining happiness can be compared to running a marathon, where the route is more important than the destination. Rather than focusing simply on attaining what we want, it is critical to acknowledge the progress we make along the road. Pleasure is found in the ongoing process, not only in reaching our objectives. We often want the highs that come with completing something noteworthy in our search of happiness. True contentment, on the other hand, comes from expressing gratitude for the small pleasures that surround us every day. When we pause to admire the rising light, a warm cup of coffee, or the beauty of nature, all of these tiny pleasures contribute to our happiness. We can find permanent happiness by shifting our focus from outcome-oriented thinking to loving the process. Personal development, self-discovery, and the lessons learnt along the way all contribute to our fulfillment. Rather than being driven exclusively by the desire to arrive at a definite destination, we find satisfaction in the steps we take and the changes we go through.

Finally, embracing progress and cultivating thankfulness are the keys to long-term pleasure. Let us treasure the journey, savoring the small moments and expressing gratitude for the small joys that enhance our lives. We can uncover a greater sense of contentment and fulfillment in our lifelong search of happiness by doing so.

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