Oct 13, 2021

Posthoc Salon: How Happiness Manifests

By Templeton Staff

University of California Riverside professor of psychology and author Sonja Lyubomirsky joined Posthoc founder and Templeton World Charity Foundation grantee Susan MacTavish Best at a salon in New York City to discuss her decades of research into the mechanics of happiness. The event was emblematic of the foundation's deep interest in growing the research, practice and policies of Human Flourishing. Lyubomirsky revealed that while the definition of happiness can be very different for different people, the mechanics of connection are always involved. Happy people are connected people, whether it's connecting with a plant, person, idea, thing or even yourself.

In the video above, Lyubomirsky describes three key components to achieving a state of flourishing: personal growth, connecting with others and contributing to community. These components can take many forms, such as reading, traveling, exercise, calling a friend, taking up a hobby or simply meeting people in passing. She says definitions of community can also be highly individualized, and whether it's institutionalized community like church, a neighborhood or a gaming sub-Reddit, contributing is all that matters when it comes to quantifying happiness. 

Lyubomirsky's book The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach takes a comprehensive look at happiness achievement, beginning with a diagnostic quiz to determine your happiness "set point" as she calls it. During her Posthoc interview, Lyubomrisky shared some of the variables contributing to one's set point, including how happy your parents were, the type of trauma you've experienced and how healthy you are physically. But her research has led her to believe that this set point influences about 50% of the happiness we can potentially achieve. She believes that leaves a lot of room for implementing practical ways to grow one's happiness quotient.

Susan MacTavish Best and POSTHOC Salons