FYI: Happiness Set Point

Happiness Set Point is your overall happiness average. Imagine a graph that looks like a roller coaster; a line moves across the page dipping down and swinging back up, then dropping again. The high points are when you’re happiest. Obviously, the low points represent when you’re a bit depressed or just not really all that happy.

As with graphs that chart trends, your happiness set point sometimes trends upward, trends downward, or may stay mostly the same over time.

We all face challenging lives. Sometimes we’re in a good mood, other times, we’re not feeling so cheery. But somewhere between your wonderful highs and your depressing lows, you’ll find your average level of happiness or happiness set point. In spite of all the highs and lows of life, your happiness set point tends to stay relatively stable. But that doesn’t mean you’re happy on average. It only represents your average mood, or how happy you tend to be, overall. So if you don’t feel very happy most of the time, your happiness set point might be lower.

The happiness set point is like a groove. You’ve practiced it so much that it’s easy to fall back into it no matter how high or how low your mood goes. The good news is that your happiness set point can be raised over time, by making a conscious effort to spend more time doing things that cause your happiness to go up and stay there longer. Want to raise your happiness set point? Try out these simple strategies:

Strategies for Improving Your Happiness Set Point

  • Make a list of activities that you really enjoy doing…that make you happy while you’re doing them. Make another list of activities you’re interested in trying in the future. Schedule these activities regularly.
  • Socialize Often. We tend to focus far too much on the stresses of life. When you spend time with friends, it’s easy to get your mind free of those stressors which means you’ll spend more time being happy because you’re not as bogged down by your own negative thinking.
  • Volunteer. Doing something meaningful while helping other people is powerful and uplifting. It enhances lives and make you (and other people) happier.
  • Get more sleep. There is almost nothing in life that won’t improve if you get enough sleep every night. In fact, getting enough sleep helps you to mentally and physically reset, and helps your body to properly regulate the feel-good chemicals which helps to make you happier.
  • Avoid Doing Unpleasant things. We may have to do some things we don’t enjoy, but not all of them. Stop doing what makes you unhappy.

You might want to track your happiness for a while by rating your overall happiness (on a scale from 1 to 10) on a daily basis. Try out some of these ideas and see if you notice an improvement. You might enjoy sharing this with a friend and tracking your progress together, but be sure you’re fully rested first.

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