There are plenty of reasons to be unhappy…
You hate your job but don’t see any better options.
You are sick and the treatment isn’t working.
You are having problems in your relationship; with your partner, with your kids, with friends.
Seriously, I could go on and on.
On the other hand, I bet you know someone who has one or more of the above situations going on in their life and yet they are not only surviving but thriving. They seem genuinely happy.
What is their secret?
Are they just faking it?
Did they take a magical happy pill?
In her book, Mind over Medicine, Lissa Rankin, M.D. discusses the research on happiness. Turns out there is a lot. First of all we know that 50% of happiness is dictated by a predetermined genetic set point. Some of us just naturally have more active left prefrontal cortexes which is the happiness generator in the brain. These lucky folks tend to be happy without too much effort on their part. If you are a worry wort… this is not good news.
However the good news is that 40 % of happiness is unrelated to your genetic happiness set point. With the right mental strategies we can determine our mindset and our mood. Even better news is that once we create this pattern of thinking, we can actually change the neural pathways in our brain so that our brain repeats the process with less and less effort and attention. In other words, we can ingrain a new way of thinking that results in feelings and emotions that we intentionally choose. Research actually shows that only 10% of life circumstances account for happiness (like finding the perfect partner or getting the perfect job). When these things happen, we are happy for a little while then quickly return to our set point. If you have created a happy mindset, you a creating your own set point for happiness and can experience contentment, no matter your circumstances.
In the book, The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky, the author suggests the following ways to increase your happiness set point:
Want to join me in creating a vision for your future? I’m hosting a second Dream Board Workshop!
Read all about it here: Beyond Vision Boards–The Next Step