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Take the number out of the formula for happiness

If I have an orange, then I’m happy. But having a second orange is not going to make me happier. That’s what I used to say to people about happiness and I still believe things are like that in my life and my formula for happiness still works.

For me, happiness is the same either I have one orange or more because it’s the thing that triggers the happiness, not the number of things I have.

In today’s society, many people become happier when they have a second car, a second house, a third TV, and so on. When the number becomes higher, in our minds the idea of happiness is associated with that number and somehow we become happier because we have more.

The number we attach to happiness makes happiness not happiness anymore, but just information that the brain can manipulate one way or another, so there’s more dopamine generated. But happiness isn’t just dopamine. It’s a mix of dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins.

If we look at running and what happens when we run, dopamine is not present when we run – it’s there only before and after the run is over. When we are running, endorphins are generated. And then, we get to generate oxytocin when we high-five someone during our run and serotonin when we tell someone about our run and they appreciate our efforts.

In short, happiness is a mix of all these neurochemicals and instead of having more and more things (which are mostly connected to dopamine), we should look for ways to generate the other neurochemicals as well.

Dopamine makes you skip the end of your experience

When we associate a number with happiness, the quality of the happiness we experience decreases. When there are numbers involved, after 1 there’s always 2, after 2 there’s always 3, and so on.

This means that when the experience is over, our mind doesn’t know how to take a break to reflect on the experience itself. Therefore, the mind skips the end of whatever you went through that made you happy.

When you connect your happiness so powerfully to numbers, the happiness lasts only a little. Therefore, maybe you should try to take the number out of the formula for happiness and experience whatever gives you happiness without multiplying it.

Dopamine is all about chasing things and getting them and as soon as you desire something, you generate dopamine.

How do you stop wanting more? How do you become happy with what you have?

These are two questions that can’t be answered with just an article, but I’ll try to shift your attention a bit to yourself.

Think about something that you currently have and want more of. Whatever that is, think about it and make sure you have it in your mind.

Now imagine you’ll never have it. And keep imagining not having it in your life. 10 years from now. 20 years from now. It will still be out of your reach.

How does that make you feel?

Move your attention to your body and understand the feeling that you have. What is that feeling? Where, more precisely, do you feel it?

Don’t run away from it and don’t ignore it. That feeling is real and is part of living a life without having more of what you currently have.

If the feeling is more intense now than it was before, then that’s good.

Now decide that you don’t want more of what you already have. Make this decision and accept the abandonment behind giving up on wanting more of what you already have.

Just let it all go.

‘I’m giving up on wanting this and, if it’s really important for me to have it in my life, I’m giving it a chance to find me. But I’m not chasing it anymore.’

Read this out loud.

I’m giving up on wanting this and, if it’s really important for me to have it in my life, I’m giving it a chance to find me. But I’m not chasing it anymore.

As you say it out loud, become an observer of what is going on inside your mind and body. If there are any thoughts that aren’t letting you let go, these thoughts are controlling you and have been controlling your life for a while now.

Is that what you want?

Keep being an observer and answer this question: is that what you want?

Do you want to be constantly chasing the things that may have no interest in being part of your life?

After all, if something is important, it will eventually find you. You will eventually have it in your life.

Fun Fact: 0 % More Generous

Did you know that optimistic individuals are 23% more likely to engage in charitable activities?

The formula for happiness is not about numbers and quantity

Take a second and try to remember the last time you were happy.

I can bet you one thing: the happiness that you experienced happened in the present moment.

Happiness is not about something you had or something you’ll have. Happiness is about something that happens to you now and here. When you attach a number to that formula, happiness becomes about something you’ll have.

Take the number out of the formula for happiness and be happy now.

Are you currently happy or are you just feeling good?

Most people don’t know how to identify happiness because for them happiness is this big feeling that comes seldom and goes really fast.

Therefore, answer this: Are you feeling good right now?

If the answer is positive, then here’s another one: What is something that you need right now in order to become happy?

If the answer is ‘I don’t know’ or ‘nothing’, then you’re happy.

Enjoy living a simple life.

With love and optimism,

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