The search for happiness is the greatest search of all. Numerous philosophers, artists, poets, writers, and creatives tried to answer the greatest question of them all: “What is happiness and how to achieve it?”. We all want to be happy; everything we do in life is directed to that one goal: achieving happiness. But is there a happiness formula that, if you follow it, you’ll finally get to your goal? Well… yes and no.
Seligman’s Happiness Formula
Seligman came up with the idea that happiness is the sum of someone’s genetic capacities, voluntary control, and their circumstances. He emphasizes that person’s circumstances don’t have a significant impact on their happiness. This means that, although it often looks like that we’ll be happier with the new car or more money, it actually doesn’t have a high impact on our happiness in the long run. Seligman doesn’t say this out of the blue: research constantly shows that people have a “baseline of happiness” that stays the same no matter the life circumstances. But does this mean that we cannot have an impact on our happiness? Not exactly. Seligman says that voluntary control over our happiness has the most powerful effect on it. In other words, we can “learn” to be happier.
To achieve greater happiness, positive-psychology advocates “learnt optimism” exercises, such as sitting down each evening and listing things that went well that day; learning to feel grateful for what we have; and practicing random acts of kindness. Seligman also points out that lasting happiness has nothing to do with the hedonistic pleasures – shopping and partying – and more to do with solid values: a sense of community and meaningful work.
On the other hand, there is no specified set of rules that you can follow, as we’re all different. However, these are some ways that can help you be more satisfied and happy with your life.