Determining the adders and the reducers
Identify where you are starting (test)
Focus on what matters most
Follow a plan
The happiness producers
Preview of what degree of happiness is created by these factors: Circle those you believe that aren't true and then put a square around those things you need to focus on more. Give yourself a rating on how you operate currently in the high creators (A-F) - and improve on any areas with lower scores than you want!
Note that all the "high creators" are under your control, as opposed to the items that have no effect, which we uselessly spend much energy on and stressing about.
Happiness, recall, is "feel goods", in a sense, though the long term satisfiers are the true basis for deep, enduring happiness.
DETERMINING THE ADDERS AND THE REDUCERS
On this page, we discuss and link into what will add to your happiness (see The Happiness Producers piece, plus the summary list below). Of course, you would want to also link into How To Create Unhappiness - and then stop doing those! After all, the formula is simple:
Net happiness = Happiness adders minus happiness reducers.
Add happiness adders ↑ --> add happiness --> net happiness ↑
Reduce happiness reducers ↓ --> net happiness ↑
This is a bit of a "Duh!" when we look at it this way, but it is oh, so very true - and most people miss it! And if they continue to miss it, then they are wasting days where they could be much happier! (We bemoan and groan instead of solving all of this! Ultimately, when we master what is in this section, we learn that there is no valid reason to be unhappy.)
IDENTIFY WHERE YOU ARE STARTING
Before you start, it is a great idea to see where you are starting from, so we can see later how far you've come! This is also, by itself, a happiness producer - one that actually lasts!
Inasmuch as the tests identify where changes would be desirable, the tests also serve as a "road map" to those things that will enhance your happiness.
FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS MOST!
If we focus on those factors that matter the most (on the upside and on the downside), we'll get the bulk of the results we want. We can fine tune later. (This also means that you need to stop chasing those things that do not produce happiness, especially those that end up creating unhappiness!)
The 80/20 Principle applies here, as in everything. The top 20% (or so) in importance produces 80% of the results. Incidentally, operating from this principle will increase your happiness in total, reducing the big reducers and upping the big adders.
FOLLOW A PLAN
Plan out what you will work on, such as suggested in The Happiness Plan. Then stick to implementing it - as a super priority!
THE HAPPINESS PRODUCERS
This is a copy of the table from The Happiness Producers. The table lists what has been proven to produce happiness and what doesn't, based on actual scientific studies (based on actual facts and results). Note that happiness is not controlled or caused by one's childhood or one's circumstances and abilities or good looks.
Actual effect Factor
HIGH (Prioritize, invest in these)
High Developing optimism style and positive viewpoint High Learning thought control and creating thoughts anew High Gratitude High Self knowledge & emotional intelligence (re: self and of others) High Consistently exercising kindness and generous actions High Good memories (and recalling what is pleasant and positive)
MEDIUM (Ok to spend time on, but after you've done the "high" payoffs.)
Medium Hope (from a study on religion, but independent of religion also) Medium Avoiding negative events and negative emotions
MINOR (Don't depend on these, though they are positive.)
Minor Rich social life Minor Social intelligence, by itself
NONE (Don't waste any time nor concern on these.)
None Income increase (increase beyond subsistence) None Having "things" None High accomplishments, achieving None Physical attractiveness None Being “cool” None Education None Gender
The latter (the "nones") are so unculturated into us that we continue to believe them, although they are proven to not have the consequences or effects that we think they do. Read the basic pieces in the Happiness section in order fully buy into the fact that they have no effect!
Some books to use to verify these:
Seligman, Authentic Happiness