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Breaking down the definition of happiness, it has four components (as the agreed definition of happiness by most scientists today:

  1. Positive emotion
  2. Joy and contentment on a typical day
  3. Not feeling sustained negative emotions frequently (like depression, anger, frustration)
  4. Sense of satisfaction with your life
Positive emotions are found most commonly in people who are inspired or motivated. However, they can also be found in simply not doing anything of import at all, but simply going through their daily routine in a way they expect it to go. The former is common in younger people while the latter is common in older people. 

Feeling joy and contentment on a typical day involves most parts of the day going according to what a person likes to happen on that day. 

Sustained negative emotions come from a feeling of unfairness, failure (at anything, even failing to garner as many likes as you wanted on an Instagram post) and life in general falling short of expectations.

And a sense of satisfaction comes from comparing their current status to that of their peers, to their own expectations and the expectations others have for them. 

The goal of breaking down and understanding anything complex is to help us make smaller improvements on the smaller components that all add up. 

Four questions to ask yourself every night, before going to sleep:
  1. Did anything inspire or motivate me today? Or did anything dent my motivation today? Or is my motivation fading away slowly?
  2. Did more things go according to plan today than the ones that didn't? 
  3. Did I feel angry or frustrated about anything today? Did I feel apathetic about anything today? How many things did I do today that were simply things that I did so someone else wouldn't feel bad or ones that I had to for some other reason, and how many were things that I was actually excited about doing today?
  4. How would I feel if today was a typical day and my next 180 days were just like today? Would I be proud of the person I'll be six months down the line?
The answers to these questions will prompt the changes we need in ourselves.

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