Happiness is a subjective construct and doesn’t exist objectively. Therefore it can’t be measured or managed empirically or scientifically. When people talk about happiness, they are generally referring to a certain biochemical state of “affect” which comprises valence (pleasure/displeasure), arousal and motivational intensity.
A much better barometer would be well being. Well being can be tracked objectively via your income (<= $75,000 per annum), Health (blood pressure, sugar etc.) and number of quality relationships (A 70 year Harvard study indicated this to be the most important catalyst for “happiness”).
Another faux binary opposition is the argument:
1) Money can’t buy happiness
2) Money can buy happiness
Both are ill defined because of course you can’t walk into a store and buy “happiness”. Money however can be used to buy goods or experiences that bring happiness. Similarly goods or experiences purchased can’t guarantee happiness.
We also want to distinguish between transient and persistent happiness. Hedonic adaptation is an example of transient happiness. When you acquire a new car, job or lover, familiarity sets in after a while and the experience of pleasure dissipates.
Scientists say that 50% of our happiness is predetermined genetically, while only 10% results from external goods, circumstances or events. This leaves 40% which we CAN learn how to architect and this I believe is the thrust of your article. Thank you!
I do agree that we must strive to be architects of our emotions using powerful techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy. We can also construct our own happiness using what I refer to as the 3 E’s: mEditation, dEdication and mEdication. More on this in our upcoming medium publication New Intellectual (Powering Emotion with Objective Reasoning).