Happiness is the starting point not the reward.

If someone asked you whether or not you are happy, how would you respond? Would you have to think about it or qualify your answer? If so, you’ re in good company. Reportedly, only 14% of the US population is currently happy which is down from 31% in 2018 and at a 50 year low.

A new online course called the Happiness MBA provides a step by step process for replacing “happiness sins” with “happiness habits”. If you think happiness sounds frivolous, rest assured the course draws on related research including positivity, flow, growth mindset and more. Happiness is important because it effects our relationships, health, productivity, longevity, earnings and wealth.

So if you’re wanting to improve any of these aspects of your life, happiness is a good place to start. With that said, the course is not a replacement for therapy. One of the first self assessments is of your current happiness level. Therapy is advised for those who are unhappy or depressed.

What is a happiness MBA?

According to Dr. Rajagopal Raghunathan, happiness has three elements: mastery, belonging and autonomy.

1/ Mastery

You need one thing that you do well. It takes money, training and support to develop and master the skill. Once you learn the skill, it gives you purpose, allows you to experience flow and gives you earning power to purchase the basic things in life including: food, housing, transportation, clothing and other necessities. Mastery increases your earning power.

2/ Belonging

You need to feel connected to someone and/or a broader community whether it’s through school, church, club, neighborhood or other association. Loneliness is a growing health risk because many people don’t even have one intimate relationship. Consequently, they are at greater risk for depression, anxiety and suicide. Introverts and those living in big cities have a higher risk of lonliness. If you’re at risk, find a community that aligns with your values and interests.

3/ Autonomy

You need control and to some extent freedom. Control is about what you do, when you do it, how much you do it or in other words, having control over your day-to-day life. Preserving control as you age is really important to overall health and wellbeing.

Freedom is a function of wealth. Wealth gives you more choice about where you live, when and if you work and what you do. The most important point of the course is that happiness is the starting point not something that you get when you’re wealthy. Happiness makes you healthier, more connected, more productive and eventually more financially free.

If your curiosity is peaked, the sins which are the framework for the course and feeling happier are below. Consider the potential areas for improvement in your own life.

Seven Happiness Sins

1/ Devaluing happiness

2/ Chasing superiority

3/ Being needy

4/ Being over controlling

5/ Distrusting others

6/ Distrusting life

7/ Ignoring the source within

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