Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The happiness equation

Yesterday I heard a discussion on the "Today" show on the topic of happiness. Naturally, I perked up. The show hosts cited a study at University College London that came up with the happiness equation. The study was done as a way to give doctors a subjective, quantitative way to measure mood disorders. Can you guess what the happiness equation is? Yup, low expectations!

As one who often gets hooked by my expectations (I am, after all, an idealist, a romantic and a recovering perfectionist!), I resonated with that. I know that when I have overly high expectations, I can easily get disappointed. So I often need to remind myself to lower my expectations or at least to lower my attachment to outcomes. When I am able to do that, I am not so disappointed. And sometimes, I'm overjoyed at the way something turned out. It was far better than I'd expected.

There's some balance needed here, however. You and I want to keep our expectations for some things high enough to challenge ourselves to reach our potential. You really are the only one who knows what the proper balance is for you. It's worth thinking about, though. Don't you think?

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