I came across some research that suggests that whether you win the lottery or are paralyzed for life, you will return to your usual level of happiness after three to six month’s time. It’s difficult to believe, isn’t it? But according to this particular study, people’s levels of happiness are remarkably stable over the long-term.
Does that mean that we each have a “happiness set-point,” and there’s no point in cultivating Habits of Happiness and working towards increasing it?
Au contraire! There are ways to increase our “happiness set-point.” And one way is to practice gratitude!
Dr. Robert A. Emmons, author of “Thanks!” conducted a study with three experimental groups over 10 weeks time.
1. Gratitude Condition. Each week, for 10 weeks, the first group was instructed to write down five things that they were grateful for that happened during that week. People listed things like you did yesterday … grateful to be with their families, friends, dogs and cats.
2. Hassles Condition. The second group was asked to write down five daily hassles, which included taxes, traffic tickets and bad weather.
3. Control Condition. The third group was asked to write down five random happens.
All groups were instructed to keep journals to track their moods, physical health and mental health. At the end of the 10 weeks, the journals were collected and comparisons made.
The people who participated in the Gratitude Condition showed that their ‘happiness set point’ had increased by 25%.
They were more optimistic about the future, felt better about their lives, ate better, slept sounder, and exercised more than their counterparts in the other two groups.
One thing I have learned for sure is that we can either be collectors of injustice, feeling slighted, empty and unhappy because of all the injustices that have fallen upon us (both real and imagined), or we can count our blessings, feel joyful and happy and cultivate gratitude.
In gratitude …
Become a Tushkateer!
Tushkateer* A Tushkateer is a person who receives Our Lady of Weight Loss’s newsletter, called the KICK in the TUSH CLUB!!! Sign up and receive her weekly e-newsletter with all the news that ‘fit’ to print!