There is an idea in psychology that we all have something called a happiness set point. A happiness set point is a term used to describe our general level of happiness, and it is unique to each of us. We all have different set points, and it is possible that some people, who seem to be happier than others, have naturally higher happiness set points.
Where does our happiness set point come from?
Your happiness set point partly comes from your genes. It also comes from our upbringing and personality traits that we develop when we are young and stay with us throughout our lives.
Does our set point change?
Yes, but only temporarily. In general, our happiness set point has the ability to increase around positive (such as winning the lottery) and negative (you got into a fight with someone at work) events. However, eventually our happiness will return to our natural set point (with the exception of a few life events). In fact, research has shown that “lottery winners and those who have undergone extreme hardship due to a health crisis or accident, within a year or so to return to the level of happiness they had prior to their life change.” Basically if something good happens, your sense of happiness rises; if something bad happens; it falls. However, eventually it all returns back to baseline.
Can my child and I do anything about our happiness set point?
Yes! There are ways to become a happier person. Huffington Post put out nine suggestions for taking control over your own happiness:
- Simply try.
- Make happiness your number-one goal.
- Linger on those little, positive moments.
- Choose mindfulness.
- Smile your way to happiness.
- Practice gratitude.
- Pursue happiness, find happiness – and success.
- Let yourself be happy.
- Practice compassion.
However, these are just suggestions. There are lots of other things you and your child can do to try to raise your set point of happiness.
What are other ways you and your child might be able to raise your happiness set point? Try these out together (or by yourself) for a while and let us know if see any results!