First of all, thank you so much for sharing the article and your insights and questions derived from it. I read the article and I’ve found it pretty useful.
I think that there are 3 dimensions of happiness; Genetic, internal and external. Once I read that genetic factors are responsible for wobbling 50% our happiness but I don’t have further knowledge about this.
Second is internal happiness that affects our sense of well-being. I think that the habits and sins that we learn in the ALOHAF are related to internal happiness. We can help for maximizing our internal happiness by following these tenets.
Third is about what is mentioned about article. There are external factors that affect our happiness as well. I have to admit that I don’t think that you can be truly happy without satisfying these external factors.
To describe these external factors we should look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. As it’s seen the graph below, there are hierarchy of human needs stacked in levels of a virtual pyramid. Let’s say self-actualization is the point which one can truly enjoy happiness. To reach this point, one should secure material things such as personal security (to not afraid of getting killed by a terrorist, mafia or law inforcement such as police or military guards or being able to reach affordable and good healthcare ), financial security (having a secured job and income), and secured freedom (being able to freely express your identity even you are minority in gender, race, politic etc.) that are mentioned in the Atlantic’s article.
As a conclusion, we can increase our level of happiness by following the habits and avoiding the sins, but as you said, there is an underlying premise that we enjoy a standard of living that offers some comfort and security.