I had heard about this concept a while ago and then it faded from my memory as life’s interesting tidbits are apt to do. Recently, it came up again, I can not remember where, and I thought, I need to look into this concept again. The Happiness Set Point, aka and related to the Adaptation Level phenomenon and subjective well-being and hedonistic adaptation to positive and negative experiences.
It probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that I was a psychology major before I changed to Mass Communications in my Junior year. It may surprise you to know that my Father is a big wig in the psychology world developing his own personality test to aid companies in finding the best people within their own companies to do the job. I have always loved the concept of teasing apart the knot that seems to be our psyche and our behaviors. I’m a dabbler and this was my daily dabble.
When I found the definition to this theory, I was intrigued and horrified all at once. The Set Point Theory of Happiness, as summarized on The Changing Minds site, states that after the initial excitement settles down after you’ve won the lottery, you will revert back to being as neurotic or as extroverted as you were initially. You are who you are, be it your genetic propensity or environmental influences, an external stimulus will effect you temporarily. I say, unless there is some sort of profound spiritual and mental shift or changing of values, you will still be you through most of your life’s ups and downs.
I have been thinking how much of a Lady of Perpetual Discontent I seem to be. I’m always wanting to make it better, be happier, and see clearer. Under it all, I think I waffle on the concept of “fixing” myself. That is another subject for another day. So it seems to me that my happiness set point, even though I do laugh a whole lot every day, isn’t as high as I’d like it to be. I would like to prescribe to more gratitude journaling, to writing permission slips for myself, and am endeavoring to take myself less seriously while also taking myself more seriously in the matters of my talents. Because using those is what really makes me happy. Even you can see that. And my husband says, if it doesn’t make you happy, then you’re not doing it right. Not so much do I need to fix it but change perspectives a little on how I see the life I am living at any given moment.
PS. I found this subject actually depressed me and I began to feel slightly hopeless. It seeped in me, a general unwellness that said, you’ll never get any better at doing this. And it took a sermon on Hope and sighting a fawn at the end out the window to realize I had in fact begun to feel that way.
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Fascinating. And rings true :/ as I need my Mom to constantly remind me to not take it all too seriously. I always want to start a gratitude journal, read it, have it lift me up. Instead I carry on carrying on. Here’s to your seeing a fawn and me hoping to 🙂
Yes to the too seriously thing. And the special “making it really hard” talent that I have. I had a really rough week recently, made me think maybe I needed to be medicated to keep from going down a hole. And I know and knew that I really needed to be doing that gratitude journal at that moment. Without a doubt. I kept trying to remember what you called it. Something about a “think box” and I loved it. We’ll talk more in person.