How happy are physicists

Formulas for happiness

Ingredients for happiness

In fact, the researchers have found generalizable happiness formulas that, in theory, will help everyone be happier. For happiness we need very specific ingredients, similar to those used for baking cakes. This is how easily the happiness formula of happiness researcher Ed Diener can be summarized.

For a cake we need butter, eggs, flour and sugar - and also four things for our happiness: a task in which we feel competent, close social ties with other people, always something new in life and a pinch of spirituality.

The US psychologist understands spirituality to be the belief in being part of a meaningful whole. This can be the belief in a god, the belief in other powers or the belief that arises from the bond with nature.

So the ingredients for happiness are manageable - and yet some people fail because of the preparation.

Happiness in Buddhism: Loving and Being

Buddhists understand happiness to be satisfaction and the ability to find peace. With daily mindfulness exercises and meditations, practitioners of Buddhist teachings want to train exactly that: find peace and be happy with what is. Love and being are the ingredients of this simple formula for happiness. However, both must be learned with great effort and practiced for years, the Dalai Lama and other wise Buddhists explain in their writings.

Like Buddhists, sociologists also understand life satisfaction as happiness. However, in addition to being and loving, having is also part of the sociological formula for happiness.

For sociologists, love stands for social relationships, being for a fulfilled life and having for the material living conditions. The sociologist Jan Delhey is researching the formulas of happiness at the Jacobs University in Bremen. He says that every person weights the three pillars differently. According to this theory, however, all three pillars are necessary for true happiness.

Happiness begins in the body

"Happiness arises just as much from our body, arms and legs, heart and skin as it does from our ideas and thoughts", writes the biophysicist and philosopher Stefan Klein in his book "Die Gl├╝cksformel".

The body sends signals about our well-being to our brain. We do not consciously perceive this. If the body is doing well, this feeling essentially determines our sense of happiness.

That is why the simplest of Stefan Klein's formulas for happiness is to really take the body seriously. Unpleasant feelings such as fear and stress have a very physical effect: the muscles tense, the stomach rebels, the heart loses its rhythm. If the body is doing well, our eyes light up, the blood flows faster through the veins, we feel the energy and smile often, says Klein.

He recommends doing as many things as possible that make us feel good. These can be sensual things like good food, movement, smells or touch. It can also be positive thoughts.

The memory of a nice vacation or the anticipation of a meeting take place in the brain, but from there influence our involuntary nervous system - and thus have a direct effect on the body.

Smiling makes you happy

It is not enough just to make a conscious decision to feel happiness or to smile more. Thinking positively and consciously feeling happy is a popular formula for happiness.

But it's not that easy. Only a real smile is really beneficial for happiness. The American anthropologist and psychologist Paul Ekman came to this conclusion as early as the late 1960s.

According to Ekman, there are 18 types of wanted smiles and only one type of genuine smile. When smiling intentionally, such as polite, friendly or concealing smiles, people only use the muscles of the mouth. When you really smile, the muscles around the eyes also contract.

Only the interaction of the muscles of the mouth and eye rings causes endorphins to be released. Among other things, these hormones have an analgesic effect. Researchers assume that these hormones are involved in the development of feelings of happiness (euphoria).

Ekman's quintessence: thinking positively and smiling work as ingredients for happiness - but only if both are real and come from the heart.

Shape the brain into old age

Many scientists today agree that we can influence and control our happiness to a large extent. The American psychologist Sonja Lyubormirsky from the Riverside University of California has researched this topic for years.

It describes the causes of happiness in clear numbers: 50 percent of our happiness depends on the genetic makeup, ten percent on chance - and 40 percent on our conscious action. These 40 percent are the leeway that a person can actively influence through positive thinking.

Brain researchers attest to the thinking organ that it can change well into old age. An example: commuting to work. The journey can hardly be avoided, but you can influence how you deal with the situation yourself. If we start to use the time sensibly or comfortably, perhaps for a radio play or an audio language course, positive feelings and thoughts suddenly arise.

If a person uses this method regularly, he can actually transform his brain. This is certainly the longest and most difficult formula for happiness. But whoever uses it, it promises long-term success, say Lyubormirsky and other researchers.