Happiness – The Evidence Behind the Emotion

Happiness - The Evidence Behind the Emotion

Sunrise on the Isle of Palms, SC – Sep 2013

I recently completed a short continuing education course called “Happiness – The Evidence Behind the Emotion”.  (The author is Cynthia Saver, RN, MS.)  I LOVED the content, and everything she wrote about made complete sense!  That’s always a good thing, right?!  I chose this specific course because everyday I wake up, my goal for the day is to be happy!

She states that there are two dimensions of happiness – transitory happiness (present benefit) and enduring happiness (future benefit).  For our day-to-day well-being, happiness plays a crucial role!  (I couldn’t agree more!)  You’re probably asking how you measure happiness?  Well, it mostly involves questionnaires such as Authentic Happiness from The University of Pennsylvania, Flourishing Scale, Scale of Positive and Negative Experience, and The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire.

We could probably all agree that happiness produces physiological changes, but are we actually born happy?  There is definitely some evidence of genetic influence.  Believe it or not, there is a happiness formula and a sustainable happiness model – see below!  All in all, the formula and model are trying to let us know that happiness is under our own control, for the most part.  Obviously, there are some things you can’t control.



H = S + C + V

  • H = Enduring Happiness,
  • S = Set point (50%),
  • C = Circumstances of a person’s life (i.e. health),
  • V = Factors under our voluntary control (i.e. engaging in a meaningful life

Source: Seligman and Happiness


  • Set point (50%)
  • Life circumstances (10%)
  • Intentional activities that are varied and episodic (40%)

Source: Pursuing Happiness: The Architecture of Sustainable Change


So, what exactly makes us happy?  According to some researchers, some possible factors are age, religiousness and spirituality, money and marriage.  As for behavioral strategies, researchers find that you can take charge of connecting socially, keeping a positive attitude, being grateful, tending to your body, leaving baggage behind, being kind to your mind, pursuing goals, and living a meaningful life for increased happiness.

I hope this article helped, and that YOU find your happy place 🙂


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