1. Three Part Scientific Formula for Happiness: Happiness Series
January 11th 2018
In this four video series, we're talking about happiness. Deepak Chopra talks about a study that came up with a 3 part scientific formula for happiness.
This is the first video in my four-part series on happiness. This video is all about what science says. I was reading some of Deepak Chopra’s work and he talks about a study that was done that then developed the science to happiness formula, and there’s three steps in it which was just so fascinating, and I wanted to share it with you.
So, the study looked at many different factors and they realised across all levels of demographics with people there were three things that could help with our happiness levels and, also determine our happiness levels. So by knowing about these three we can then be aware of what happens when we lose our happiness, where does it go, what happened, and what needs to happen in order to get it back.
Now it’s important to say at the beginning of the series that being happy all the time is not the goal. It’s absolutely not the goal. It’s unrealistic. It’s ridiculous to even think that it’s possible and it’s not the goal of life to always be happy. Often change and growth both come from pain or from some kind of challenge, some kind of opportunity that needs to be explored where we don’t have the skills yet and that’s part of growth, developing the skills to do something you haven’t been able to do before.
And so, happiness is separate from that part of us that needs to grow. Happiness is a state of mind. It’s a state of being and it’s a level of vibration that we have in our life. And so with these four videos I wanted to share little insights into maintaining this vibration of happiness in our day-to-day life and understanding why it sometimes does go away and our vibration does lower and why that sometimes needs to happen in order for growth.
So, back to the formula. So the three steps are… They’re not steps. They’re just three identifying factors that are the cause for people’s happiness levels.
The first one is our brain set-point. So the set-point is an indication of where your mind will come back to regardless of what happens on the outside. So regardless of what’s going on in your life whether you win the lottery, whether you’re in a massive car accident and you lose your car, your set-point is where you’ll eventually come back to. It’s like your default position. And there’s been some evidence to say that there’s components of… it’s a little bit genetic, but it can be changed. Your set-point can be changed.
There are two types of set-points. Either you look at the world and you see problems and your set-point is… like the default button is problems and everything that’s wrong and everything that can’t change. It’s a very negative outlook. Or your set-point is opportunities. So when you look at the world you see opportunities for growth, opportunities for happiness, opportunities of service, where can I be of help, and it’s a far more positive outlook in life.
And so, whether something horrible happens to you on the outside your set-point will always come back to a place of gratitude and a place of calmness and opportunities. Where’s the opportunity for me to grow here? Where can I be of service here? As opposed to wonderful things happening on the outside and your set-point coming back to oh, my life is terrible.
The idea is your set-point is where you’ll gravitate towards eventually regardless of whether you on the outside you experience good thing or bad things. And the judgment of what is good and bad is also just the perception of how you see things. So someone with a positive set-point or an opportunity set-point will see the positivity in every situation that comes to them regardless of what it is. And the problem set-point will see the opposite, will see everything there is to complain about and nothing goes right and my life is terrible.
Set-point is huge in determining your levels of happiness. It makes sense. Because if your set-point is on opportunities your button is always set to well, how is this working for me, how is this benefiting me, how is this a good thing for me, and so that will increase your happiness levels.
The second thing is your life situation. So education levels, safety levels in your society, in your country, how safe do you feel. Are you fed? Are you… Do you have clean water? Do you access to health? Do you have access to education? Do you have opportunities to follow your dreams? So your life situation, the home that you grew up in… Did you always have to worry about money? Do you have a phone that’s always charged? Do you have access to the internet? Your life situation plays a contributory role towards happiness, but it’s only 15%. It’s only 15%. These outer circumstances and these environmental factors only contribute to 15% but it is a factor. That’s important to understand.
And the third thing which is my favourite, the third is our voluntary actions, our choices. So the most power lies in this third field of choice, of voluntary action. So your decisions and your attitudes could be one of inspiration. It could be… So you find things that inspire you and you allow yourself to be inspired as opposed to being dejected and disappointed all the time. So you consciously decide what you want to bring into your environment, into your mind, into your home, what helps you maintain a high vibration. So your choices in those things really determine your levels of happiness.
What was interesting was that they said that when you… like one of the greatest parts of choice that allows you to be happy is the fact that when you make or help other people be happy your happiness levels rise which is such a normal thing, it’s such an obvious thing, but it’s often forgotten. When we’re in those spaces of feeling down and feeling I guess just kicked by life, we forget that one way through that is to take our focus off our own life and our own situation, our life situation as it’s presenting itself at that time and focus on someone else and helping them elevate their spirits in whatever way we can. So in that way we find a purpose and we find a usefulness in being ourselves, and that kind of sense of giving helps us with our own happiness levels.
I remember this story that was shared in the movie The Secret. It was narrated by a gentleman I think that was a life coach and he had people that he was mentoring and this person said to him I’m really sad, I can’t get out of this black spiral, I think I’m depressed, and the mentor asked him to reflect on his thoughts and what are you thinking. And his email kind of gave it all away, like everything was focused on what’s not working, what’s not right, these outer circumstances that were really negative and that was all he was seeing. So his set-point was on problems.
The mentor just said just today find someone and do something small that helps them. And this guy kind of being locked in his apartment and not really seeing the light of day, just feeling really small and contracted and insignificant and really, really separated from life and from himself… and so he went across the hall to… There’s an old lady that lived in the apartment across from him and I think he offered to sweep up her house and the area around her apartment, something small like that, just a small act of service. And you know, got chatting with her and then came back… after he did it he came back feeling quite elevated.
And it was just a small act, this smallest tiniest thing of helping someone else helped him move out of that low vibration where it just keeps feeling like you’re getting kicked in the guts by life. And it was just that momentary focus off himself and on someone else that you know is in a situation where they’re not as strong as him, they’re not as able as him and he could help them in some way which was really moving. It was a beautiful example of how helping someone else smile allows your smile to come to the surface.
A word of caution is to also nurture yourself. You don’t want to get in a habit of only giving, giving, giving. We’re in balance when we give and receive. But when you’re feeling like you’re only receiving negative stuff, giving out some positive energy will kick like short circuit, like kick that… not short circuit but restart that circuit of good energy flow. So you give what you wish to receive. And then when it comes receive it with two hands. Receive it with an open heart and say thank you. Thank you, I will accept this energy.
And so those were the three, the three kind of components to this science to happiness formula. The first one was your set-point. Is your set-point on problems or is it on opportunities. The second one is your life situation like your environment, your health levels, your finance levels, your access to health services, to education services, to food, to water, to shelter… your life situation. And thirdly and most importantly your voluntary choices, your voluntary actions, so how you choose to think and how you choose to speak and how you choose to behave is the largest determinant in your happiness levels.
I hope that was helpful. I remember thinking this is so simple and so lovely when you know a study that’s like taken into consideration so many different people can come up with like a little… it’s a formula of what keeps people happy. And it’s interesting that it’s just 15% is attributed to life situation which is a small component. It’s still a component but it’s just a small component. And so whatever life gives us our set-point and our choices can really determine our levels of happiness and how we step forward into the world.