The various contributors to happiness

The various contributors to happiness

by Jacquelyn Ferguson

Thankfully, psychology is taking a different view of and approach to mental health. Historically, it focused on what’s wrong with us: depression, schizophrenia, etc. Now, with the leadership of Positive Psychology pioneer, the University of Pennsylvania’s Martin Seligman, psychologists are increasingly focusing on what makes us happy.

What do successful and happy people have going for them versus what’s wrong with those less successfully happy?

Seligman’s book “Authentic Happiness” uses a Happiness Formula:

H = S + C + V

– Happiness equals your Set range + your life Circumstances + factors under your Voluntary control

Do you think your score on his happiness assessment would be similar to your biological parents’? It would be, according to Seligman, who says about 50 percent of most personality traits are genetic. When good or bad things happen to you, such as winning the lottery or losing your job, your happiness goes up or down, but for only a short time. Then it returns to your Set range.

The Circumstances of your life make up only about 15 percent of your happiness and include:

– Wealth, which improves happiness, but only until your essentials are covered. Beyond that, increased income doesn’t impact happiness.

– Marriage is strongly related to happiness.

– A healthy social life can make you happier partly because it may increase the likelihood you’ll marry.

– Physical attractiveness has little effect on happiness.

– Health barely impacts happiness. If you have a devastating illness, it adversely affects your happiness, but less than you’d think.

– Education, the climate you live in, race and gender have little bearing on happiness.

– Religion somewhat influences happiness because it engenders hope, which is an important ingredient in how you feel about your future…

…read more about the range of factors that contribute to happiness HERE