Last week I was a participant at an event where one of the topics was happiness. While I did not attend that particular session, I was part of some discussions on whether we can actively manage our happiness. So I have been thinking about the issue.
Three years ago my family and I made a sudden decision to move back to Istanbul, our hometown, after over a decade in New York, and close to half our lives in the US. We felt the move would contribute to our happiness. While it is difficult to gauge whether we are proven right, just the feeling of taking this sort of control of the flow of our life contributed to a certain level of contentment felt.
My friend Fabrice has thought and written about the issue as well. His take away:
1. Don’t equate happiness with money.
2. Exercise regularly.
3. Have sex.
4. Devote time and effort to close relationships.
5. Pause for reflection, meditate on the good things in life.
6. Seek work that engages your skills, look to enjoy your job.
7. Give your body the sleep it needs.
8. Don’t pursue happiness for its own sake, enjoy the moment.
9. Take control of your life, set yourself achievable goals.
And finally, today Emre Erşahin pointed me to a Dilbert blog post on the topic, analytical approach of which I found amusing:
I fantasize about writing a book called The Happiness Formula. The
idea would be to create a simple formula for troubleshooting your life
and improving your happiness. On page one would be this top formula.
Happiness = health + money + social life + meaning
The rest of the book would be nested formulas that further explain each component of happiness. For example…
Health = sleep + diet + exercise
And then down another level…
Sleep = schedule + technique
And down another level until it starts getting practical…
Sleep Technique = consistent bedtime and waking time + no reading or TV in bed + no booze or caffeine…
And so on.
Read the comments; they are fun, too.