Happiness has been studied extensively over the centuries. And philosophers, psychologists and neuroscientists are making incredible progress.
The happiness formula
One popular formulation is this equation:
H = S + C + V
H = Happiness :-)
S = Set point, the biological/genetical point around which you naturally reside in terms of happiness
C = conditions of your life
V = voluntary activities
Today we are going to zoom in on C, the 5 conditions of your life that can have a large impact on your direct happiness. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that quite a lot of factors are also relevant for your working environment :-)
Variable or intermittent noise can have a profound and direct impact on your happiness. This kind of noise increases stress indicators in your blood. So it is really worthwhile reducing. For example, by introducing moment of quietness in your life or invest in a good noise cancelling headphone for at the office.
Many people live quite far from where they work. For several reasons, because cities are expensive places to live or because people just want a bigger house or there are simply not enough opportunities in the neighbourhood. But guess what, you tend to adapt rapidly to your larger mansion while you won’t adapt to the longer commuting times. So if you suffer from increased levels of stress a first step to reduce them could be to move closer to where you work or switch jobs? Having your work within a biking distance has also shown decrease in stress and better sleep.
3 Lack of control
You’ll probably find this obvious but, things that we don’t control stress us out. People that have a sense of control over their environment perform better, are happier and more at ease. Changing a company’s environment to increase the sense of control among workers is an effective way to increase their sense of engagement, energy and happiness. Let people choose where they sit, let them choose what furniture they want, let them choose when they want to work (if possible). Give them a sense of belonging and control.
Shame has a profound impact on our daily lives. It might sound strange but adjusting things you are really ashamed of can have profound impacts on your happiness. Start with making a short list, and think far beyond to what you are used to. This short list will show you wether or not it worth it.
Another possibility is to cope with what you are ashamed of by acknowledging it and engage in cognitive therapy and even meditation.
Last but not the least, the condition that has the largest influence on our happiness. Namely, the strength and number of a person’s relationships. For example, having chronic conflict with someone close to you is one of the surest ways to reduce your happiness. It seems that our brains never really adapt to interpersonal conflict. It damages you every single day, it is that simple. So if you wanna change something profound in your life try to solve such an issue in the coming weeks!
Lessons from the longest study on happiness
More information can be found in this fantastic book:
The Happiness Formula by Jonathan Haidt