The Happiness Ratio
‘At any moment, you have a choice that leads you closer to your spirit or further away from it. Letting go, gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness, if in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions, we cannot be free’ – Thich Nhat Hanh
There have been many researchers claiming to have found a mathematical formula for finding happiness. Some said the ratio was three positives to every one negative, and others claimed that the ratio was five positives to a negative in order to be happy and flourish. But how can anyone really measure such a thing? We are all responding to things in our own unique way, based on our individual experiences.
Personally I found in times of crises, when I was feeling low and overwhelmed, it was very difficult to find any positives. When we’re feeling low, we have a distorted perception of things, everything seems to be going wrong, and knowing about the ratio doesn’t necessarily help to make it any better.
However as I practiced becoming aware of my thoughts (part 1) and by developing my emotional intelligence (part 9) I discovered that I could change my perception. That as I changed my thoughts about things, the things I thought about changed, in a way. I saw that a situation was just a situation, I could think about it in many ways, which could affect how I felt about it. I could be either miserable or happy.
I found that by cultivating an attitude of gratitude in everything, that I was able to tip the balance. I was able to become happy regardless of what happened. Suddenly my awareness was focused on all that was going right in my life, even though it could easily have seemed like a shambles. I would shift my focus again and again each time. I would just keep asking myself, ‘Tell me one thing that’s going right… great now another… now another’ Then my mind would focus on all that was missing, that it thought I needed to be happy. So I would shift my focus to all that I did have, even though at times it wasn’t much. I’ve been lucky enough to always have clothes to wear, to have a roof over my head, some money, no matter how meagre and some food to eat. So by viewing it from that perspective, I was luckier than some. I could be grateful about that.
And like the quote at the start of the article says, we have a choice in any moment to move closer to our spirit or away from it. Your spirit sees life as an adventure with different opportunities to learn and grow from your experiences.
It is our attachment through our thoughts about things that keeps us from finding happiness. You can find happiness right now, this moment if you wish, by just enveloping yourself in gratitude for all that you do have right now, it turns everything into more than enough. And yes the personality will always want something more, will always want things to be different right now, but you get to choose what you want to put your focus on, and if those things make you feel good, you will have found your happiness ratio.
Part 12 Being Proactive
Paula is an Author/ Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Artist in Blessington Co. Wicklow. www.i-want-a-better-life.ie / firstname.lastname@example.org / Phone 086 0848398 All her articles to date are on her blog email@example.com