There has been so much research done on happiness, and one thing that has been established is that we all have a happiness ‘set point’ meaning that over time our happiness levels are pretty consistent. Some people feel happiness more than others and have more access to feeling joy, but we all have a general level of happiness that we experience as our ‘norm’.
It has been found that if we have a big impact on our lives such as winning the lottery, we may feel exhilarated and experience a much higher level of happiness for a year and then things tend to go back to ‘normal’ and we return to our happiness ‘set level’. The same is true of negative experiences like the loss of a loved one. We may feel heightened despair and grief but after about a year things generally return to ‘normal’.
The good news is we can raise our happiness set level and make feeling happy and joyful more accessible to us, along with many other benefits such as better health and feeling more optimistic about the future. Committing to having an attitude of gratitude for 10 weeks can increase your happiness set level by 25%. Want to give it a go? Just follow the simple prescription below for ten weeks.
1. At the end of each day write down five things to ten things you experienced that you feel grateful for. Focus on things you noticed that day and commit to finding new things to feel grateful for each day.
2. At least three times a week - the more the merrier (literally) do a gratitude meditation: Find a comfortable place to sit for a while. close your eyes and allow yourself to feel grateful for everything you have, it's good to find new things each time you sit so you are not just running through the obvious stuff. Include the small things like the chair you are sitting on, the bed you sleep in the sunrise, the fact you can walk over to the tap whenever you need running water as well as the bigger things. Allow the feeling of gratitude to build for as long as you like.