Meaningful Living Equation: Purpose + Relativity + Well being + Positivity = Happiness
Purpose is defined as the goal or object toward which one strives or for which something exists. What are you striving for in this life? Why do you exist? How can you fulfill your dream to make a difference?
- Relativity is the antidote to absolutism in thinking about people, situations, opportunities and problems in life.
- Meaningful well-being (MWB) is the name experts in this field of personal growth and development say is a critical element for achieving happiness. Since your hell may be my paradise, relativity and subjectivity are the two key elements in the happiness equation. Homeless people in Calcutta have been found to be less unhappy than those in California (because they have a stronger sense of community), reports Ed Diener, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, while the Amish appear to be rarely bored, though churning butter might not be everybody’s idea of a meaningful and purposeful life. It seems, according to recent brain research that we are all born with a happiness “mental set point,” a genetic level—from giddy to grumpy—around which SWB tends to settle, regardless of what happens to us. A now famous study of identical twins reared in different environments suggests that the set point determines about 50 percent of our disposition to happiness.
- According to University of Minnesota professor emeritus of psychology David Lykken, PhD “Happiness is genetically seen as a predisposition that has influence on happiness. So it is best to say happiness is not genetically fixed.. “The brain’s structure can be modified through practice and experiences,” Lykken says. “If you really want to be happier than your parents and grandparents provided for in your genes, you have to learn the kinds of things you can do, day in and day out, to influence your happiness set point up and avoid the things that bounce it down.”
Tools for Increasing Happiness –Keep it Simple and use Common Sense Activities
There are as many MWB-activities and tools as there are people in need of a “happiness boost”. Using a number of tools at once appears to be most effective, according to Dr. Diener, who is co-editor of the Journal of Happiness Studies. Such tools can range from common sensical—getting sufficient sleep and exercise, nurturing close relationships, maintaining an optimistic outlook, knowing your strengths and using them in work and play—to attitude shifts and inner work that might not spring immediately to mind, says David Myers, PhD, a professor of psychology at Hope College in Michigan. He also recommends keeping a gratitude or Naken journal, taking control of your own time and your reaction to things, even “acting happy” to raise MWB (since there seems to be a direct link between expression and emotion). While such tools seem almost too simple to be true, they are extraordinarily effective, over time, in retraining the mind toward well-being.
What do you do to get a lift in happiness and knock away boredom?