Understanding happiness

What is happiness?

According to Lyubomirsky, happiness is “the experience of joy, contentment or positive well being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful and worthwhile.”

Happiness Myths:

  1. Happiness must be ‘found’
  2. Happiness lies in changing our circumstances
  3. You either have it or you don’t

“When I am in New York, I want to be in Europe, and when I am in Europe, I want to be in New York.” – Woody Allen

I can relate… When I am in Connecticut, I want to be in Australia, and when I am in Australia, I want to be in Connecticut. I thought that studying abroad (changing my situation and my environment) would bring me an immense amount of happiness. It has not made me feel that much happier. This demonstrates that life circumstances actually have little to do with our level of contentment. If I depend on changing my circumstances instead of changing my mindset than I will never experience true happiness.

What determines happiness?

  1. 10% circumstances
  2. 50% set point
  3. 40% intentional activity (I actually have the power to control my happiness)

How do I measure happiness?

After completing Lyubomirsky’s Subjective Happiness Scale, I have a better idea of my happiness set point. On a scale of 1 to 7, where 7 represents the highest happiness score, I have scored a 4.5. According to her research, this is an average score for college students. Yet in my opinion that score seems very low.

The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire:

This questionnaire measures a person’s happiness level on a scale from 1 to 6, with 6 being the highest score and 1 being the lowest possible score. The happiness score fluctuates based on your level of happiness. Today is day one of my journey towards happiness and forgiveness and my score was 4.207. I will calculate my happiness score again at the end of week 2, at the end of week 4, and at the end of my assessment to track my progress.

  1. Happiness score 8 March: 4.207
  2. Happiness score 22 March: 4.862
  3. Happiness score 5 April: 5.552
  4. Happiness score 12 April: 5.793

Center for epidemiological studies: Depression scale 

This scale measures you total depression score given your responses to 20 different statements. Each statement is rated from 0-3 based on how often you felt or behaved during a specific week. The lowest possible score is 0 and the highest possible score is 60. A score of 16 or higher indicates that you are depressed. The degree of depression can range from mild to severe, which is indicated by your score. My score was 19, which suggests that I am mildly depressed.

  1. Depression score 8 March: 19
  2. Depression score 22 March: 13
  3. Depression score 5 April: 7
  4. Depression score 12 April: 8



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