I recently watched a PBS special by Dr. Deepak Chopra. A lot of what I have learned about happiness was reinforced. What was new is that someone has invented a 'Happiness Formula' which is simple and integrates the key ingredients.
H = S + C + V where
H = Happiness
S = Set point in the brain
C = Conditions of living
V = Voluntary choices
It is thought that the natural propensity towards happiness which is inherent in the brain accounts for 40 to 50% of our happiness; conditions of living which reflects our surroundings both materially and situationally accounts for 7 to 12%; voluntary choices which are the decisions we make about living in the positive or negative account for 40 to 50%.
Clearly, the numbers confirm that our conscious choice to live in the present, to be grateful, to support others, and to have fun easily overcome conditions of poverty, disability, tragedy and poor health. While there are plenty of people who demonstrate the truth of the formula by making choices that improve their happiness, there are multitudes who have not and who suffer unnecessarily by being connected to the conditions of living as being responsible for their unhappiness. [Russell]