How to Raise Your Happiness "Set Point."

As everyone knows, regardless of their circumstances, some people are just more joyful, happier, and more self-satisfied then others. And some people, even though they are well-off, are gloomy most of the time. Why is this so? In 1996 University of Minnesota researcher David Lykken decided to find out. He selected 4000 sets of twins, and looked at how they differed in happiness. As a result of his study he came to the conclusion that happiness is approximately 50% genetic; in other words, genes determine about 50% of your satisfaction with life,regardless of how well-off you are.
He suggested that each of us has a "happiness set point," and no matter what hppens to us -- good, bad, indifferent -- we are eventually drawn back to this set point. It has elastic bands that control us. We can, of course, feel really happy or really sad, but within a short time we're back to our set point. It's much like the "weight set point" that most people have.
So if you're wondering why some people are much more joyful and happy than others, this is the reason. But does this "set point" doom us forever? If it's fixed, is it fixed forever, or can we adjust it upwards? The answer is yes. As I said earlier, it is determined to a large degree by genetics, but genetics accounts for only 50% of it, so we've still got a lot of leeway.
Let's look at some of the things you can do to raise your set point.
1) Believe in yourself. Each morning when you wake up give yourself a little pep talk -- tell yourself that you're going to be happy that day, and firmly believe it. Let nothing get in the way.
2) Act happy. In particular, SMILE, and when I say smile, I mean really smile. Also, talk as if you're happy.
3) Enjoy your work. Even better, "love" your work and your hobbies.
4) Take control of your time. Set goals and follow through, making sure that they have specific time limits.
5) Nurture friendships.
6) Practise acts of kindness. They should be both random and planned. Being kind to others makes us feel good and boosts our happiness.
7) Count your blessing. Think about all the good things that have happened to you, and the good luck that has come your way. Do this every day.
8) Savor life's joys. Take time to enjoy the little things
9) Learn to forgive. Are you harboring any grudges? Get rid of them.
10) Take care of your body. Make sure you get enough sleep and exercise.
11)Learn to control stress.
12)And finally; forget about accumulating large amounts of money. It won't buy you happiness.

Read more in "Feel Great Feel Alive."

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