The Set Point

Are we happy? Do we truly understand what happiness is? Is there a way to increase our happiness?I just attended a workshop in which I learned a lot more about happiness. While some concepts I had learned before, others were brand new to my ears. ‘The happiness set point’ was one of the new ideas I encountered. It explained that each person has a personal level of happiness, like the metabolic rate, which is generally stable at a certain level. This set point might get temporarily affected with some external events or circumstances. We buy a new car we feel happier yet after a while our happiness level gets back to its natural set point. We spend some time with friends, and same happens. An event or incident annoys us, our happiness decreases then it goes back to its set point after awhile. Given the same example of metabolism, we were taught that this set point can be elevated by practice, the way exercises and workouts increase our metabolism. The instructor invited us to practice being happy, clarifying that although fifty percent of our happiness is genetic and ten percent is related to our circumstances yet a bunch of forty percent of our happiness totally depends on us, our attitudes, our actions and our routines. She gave us several techniques to practice being happy, one of them was identifying the things that expand our happiness and the things that contract it, then to start building some routines around the things that expand our happiness and eliminate as much as we can the things that contract it. 

Happiness is not an emotion, it’s a psychological state that depends on our habits not our circumstances. What practices can you do to become happier? 


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