Happiness is a profound experience of positive emotions. Regardless of where we are on that happiness scale, it is important to know that each and every person has their own unique way of defining their happiness.
However, recent research has shown that no matter our differences, the true, everlasting joy or in other words the ‘joie de vivre’ – the exuberant enjoyment of life can be achieved by solving the ultimate happiness equation.
But, how exactly can one solve the happiness equation?
Well, the researcher who conducted a study at the University College London and published it in Nature Communications say that their new equation shows how our state of happiness and joy does not only depends on what happens to us, but also how our state compares to other people in our life.
Moreover, the team of researchers stated that they’ve been very confident about their new-found formula since they discovered that they could use it to predict the happiness levels in people based on these factors:
What is life if not an endless train of chances?
From the very first moment we arrive in this world, we are taught to choose. We are taught that our future depends on the choice we make today. But, there’s no way to predict what our future has in store for us. Therefore, we have no other option but to risk.
For example, we choose to go to college, invest our savings, time and effort and hope for the best. Our visualized goals are finding a well-paid, respected job and settling on our own. But, no one can guarantee us that.
The researchers said that a part of the happiness equation is how we feel when we achieve something based on the amount of risk we took to get there.
If it was a great risk with an even greater reward, we feel ecstatic. Naturally, if it was a smaller gamble, with a smaller reward, we feel not so satisfied with ourselves. This shows that it is exactly our expectations that make a big difference in our happiness.
THE ONE IMPORTANT VARIABLE IN THE HAPPINESS EQUATION
GUILT AND ENVY
“Our equation can predict exactly how happy people will be based not only on what happens to them but also what happens to the people around them,” explained one of the study’s co-lead authors, Dr. Robb Rutledge.
As humans, we tend to feel less motivated and happy when others get more or less than us. But the truth is, this varies a lot from person to person.
The usual feelings we experience are guilt and envy.
Guilt is what we feel when you receive an unequal reward compared to another person. When you have more than some people who deserve to have the thing, you feel guilty because life has been unfair for someone else.
Envy, on the other hand, is what we feel when someone else receives far more than us. We compare ourselves with the other person and we believe that we deserved more but got very little.