As a kid, most of us had big expectations and large dreams, knowing no limits and believing we could actually have, be and do anything we wanted. But along the way, even though it remained true, most people decide that instead they need to just get a good job that pays well and settle into a life that is expected of them. And, along with someone to share it with, this life typically included the house, the car, the toys, the stuff we think we need. And as we work hard to prepare for this life, we come up with our very own happiness equation – which usually looks something like this:

Happiness = $100,000 (insert the number you “think” would make you happy)

When we reach that, then we will have arrived. Then we will be happy. But the real question is, does having this stuff really create our happiness?

Embracing minimalism

While this is what most people believe at one point in their life, what typically happens is we find out all of this “stuff” doesn’t contributed to our happiness at all. Instead, what we create is debt, stress, discontent, overwhelm and sometimes even anxiety and depression. So the first step in breaking this cycle and upping your happiness factor for those who experience this “ah ha” moment, is typically embracing minimalism. If you aren’t yet familiar with this term, minimalists believe that the shortest road to happiness is not getting more, but having less – or another way of putting it is living more with less. And this is a great start. But now lets look at the research.

The scientific equation

Researchers at the University College London actually came up with a scientific equation for happiness. This is what it looks like:

happiness equation

While this looks like a bunch of gobbledygook to the average person, the most interesting thing about this equation, is that the researchers determined that your positive expectations for something, like going to a movie with a friend or checking out the newest attraction in your area, is a very large part of what creates your happiness. So when we combine minimalism with positive expectations and add on experiences, that is when the magic happens and your happiness increases by quantum leaps.

So here’s our take on the happiness equation:

Happiness = Positive Expectations + New Experiences

*Note the absence of more “stuff”.

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