Thursday, October 26, 2017

Day 26-What is Your Happiness Set Point?

  **This is part of a 31 day series on Joy in the Journey. To read the rest click here. ** 
           Did you know people have a genetic set point for happiness? It doesn’t mean we can’t increase our happiness. But to a certain extent our happiness is part of the personality we were born with. Sonja Lyubomirsky in her book, The How of Happiness, says research shows that like our metabolism, intelligence and athleticism, our happiness is determined somewhat by our DNA. That is how God made us. It makes sense. There are people who always seem to be happy. They have an optimistic outlook regardless of their circumstance. There are also those people who never seem happy. Their life can be going great, happy marriage, kids, good job and still, they seem to have no joy.

We are all are born with a happiness set point that accounts for fifty percent of our happiness. Ten percent of our happiness is determined by our circumstances. If you get a promotion at work, find out you are pregnant, or the person in front of you in the drive-thru pays for your coffee – these things can increase our happiness.  If we get a ticket on the way to work, get a call from the high school that our son is suspended (this is hypothetical of course!) or receive a bad report from the doctor, these things can seriously deplete our happiness.

The good news is this leaves forty percent we have control over. Our happiness increases based on what we think about and what we do.  Lyubomirsky writes,

“If we observe genuinely happy people, we shall find that they do not just sit around being contented. They make things happen. They pursue new understandings, seek new achievements, and control their thoughts and feelings. In sum, our intentional, effortful activities have a powerful effect on how happy we are, over and above the effects of our set points and our circumstances.”

If this is true, the question is what can we do to increase our happiness? Jennifer Dukes Lee, author of The Happiness Dare, says it depends on what your Happiness Style is. (You can read more about that and take the Happiness Style test by clicking here.)

If your Happiness Style is Doer, Lee says you should get up and do something meaningful. Accomplish something on your to-do list. Do something you have wanted to do for a long time.

If your Happiness Style is Relater you need to be around people. Invite friends over, plan a game night, call someone and talk on the phone. Relaters increase their happiness by investing in relationships.

If you are an Experiencer go outside and make a memory. Take a walk and watch the sun set, go to the zoo, or plan your next vacation. Planning and looking forward to your next adventure will greatly increase your happiness.

If you are a Giver cook a meal and bring it to someone who is sick. Send a care package to a college student, or send an old school card in the mail.

If your Happiness Style is Thinker take time out to be alone with a good book. Read something challenging. Learn a new skill. Contemplate the latest podcast you listened to.

We may be born with a happiness set point, but we have control over what we choose to do and think about. We have the ability to increase our happiness by intentionally doing those things that bring us joy.

What could you do to increase your happiness today?




  1. Being around people always increases my happiness! I enjoyed reading this!