Happiness - the always sought yet oft elusive state of mind that returns more than 298,000,000 results within 0.37 seconds of a Google search.
Enough with the mystery, here's a simple formula that Deepak Chopra shared during his recent lecture in Dallas to kick-start your happiness.
S stands for set-point in your brain
This is the mechanism where happy people see opportunities, and unhappy people see problems.
Is the glass half full, half empty, or does it even matter if you just go ahead and drink it?
Your set-point will influence about 50 % of your happiness, and you will have learned where to set it within the first 3 or 4 years in your life. Yes, your set-point is something you probably learned from your parents. Were they worried and anxious, or more easy-going and adaptable?
If it isn't one thing, it's your mother, right? The good news is, you can practice and change your set-point by questioning your limiting beliefs, applying meditation techniques, and practicing self-reflection.
C stands for Conditions of Living
Your material and financial conditions probably make up about 12 % of your happiness levels. In other words, you may have very little and suffer in a country of dirty water and electricity outages, but in terms of influencing your levels of happiness, "C" has a smaller impact that "S" and "V".
V stands for Voluntary Choices
In the USA, the number one choice to achieve personal pleasure is ... take a guess ...
shopping. Followed by food, followed by sex.
People are consumers, and their choices result in merely transitory happiness experiences. Voluntary choices that are more conducive to long-term, permanent happiness are choices that make us feel fulfilled. These would be experiences where we attribute meaning, where we feel we have a purpose, have the opportunity to express our creativity, and take care of others.
It's true - emotions are contagious. If your friends are happy, you will be happier in return. So - make your enemies happier, and that will rub off on you, too.
Happiness is the sum of how we view the world from our set-point, the conditions we live in, and the voluntary choices we make.
Are you going to choose happiness today? :-)