I finished yoga teacher training in the beginning of June (see pics here). For four months I studied yoga poses and philosophy at Dhyana yoga in center city Philadelphia. During one Friday evening my yoga teacher Dhyana shared with us a happiness formula that she learned from Deepak Chopra. (I got my info from her, but you can listen to Deepak talk about it here, read more about it in his book, or read this blog.) I’m a pretty happy person but I think the info is interesting, and who wouldn’t want to be even happier?
50% of our happiness comes from our brain’s set point. The set point is the brain’s automatic way of responding to something, either in a negative or positive way. It’s whether the glass is half full or half empty. People can see any situation as a problem or an opportunity. Deepak explains that our set point is determined equally from genetics and the way we were raised. It’s half nature, half nurture. Deepak believes that meditation and cognitive therapy can reset the set point.
10% of our happiness comes from our conditions of living. Are you rich or poor? What kind of house do you live in? Are you going through a break-up or divorce? Are you recovering from an accident? These things only account for a small percentage of our happiness.
40% of our happiness comes from voluntary actions. This is the stuff that we do on a daily basis. Our choices are influenced by the desire for personal pleasure and fulfillment. Actions taken for personal pleasure include things like shopping, watching tv and hanging out at the beach. Fulfillment occurs when we do something selfless and when we use our creativity. Deepak says that the quickest way to feel happy is to make someone else happy. Dhyana pointed out that being creative doesn’t mean you have to be a professional artist. We are all creative when we decorate our homes, pick out clothes to wear or arrange food nicely on a plate. For me, this blog started out as an experiment and a project for my yoga class. I used to post food pics on facebook all the time, so a blog was a natural evolution. It’s turned into a fun creative outlet.
Here are a few things that make me happy:
A beach day with my adorable nephew Brandon
Home decorating (the living room four years ago)
Now: it’s still a work in progress
Spa time: this pic was taken in April in Essaouira, Morocco after a serious scrubdown in a traditional hammam
Homemade veggie sandwiches
What do you think of the happiness formula? What makes you happy?