Everyone always wants to know what they can do to be happier. Today we’re going into 4 easy ways to be happier.
Happiness Set Point
Did you know that we have an internal happiness set point, like we have a thermostat in our house?
Imagine a little gauge inside of you that is set on a happiness level that external factors don’t touch. They can influence us to feel better or worse in the moment but we eventually settle back to this set point. Haven’t you ever experienced that? Something you’ve been looking forward to happens like you get a new car or job promotion or even a lottery win, and your mood spikes. Your level of life satisfaction seems higher. Days feel brighter and lighter…and then, after a brief period, you go back to your original thermostat setting, your happiness set point.
The good news is that we can influence our set point similar to how we can change the thermostat setting in our house. Sure, there’s a limit, we can’t turn our AC to -10 degrees or our heat to 110. But we can influence it up or down in a very wide range. We have that power with our happiness too!
How do we be happier?
Details first. Studies show that our happiness set point is 50% genetic, 10% external circumstances (like quarantine and COVID), and 40% because of our habits of thought or behaviors.
This whole month, the podcast series will address happiness, positive psychology, and things we can do to be happier by raising our personal happiness set points. I hear you and I know we are in the thick of it. I know you’re feeling despair, you’re sad, hopeless, and feeling like you can’t take another ground hog-like month. Yet, what’s the alternative? We have more than 1/4 of the year left and we don’t get a do-over on this year or this life. Don’t look back and regret the actions you didn’t take; letting yourself down; or wasting time worrying about things you can’t control. Make sure you’re subscribed to the show so you don’t miss a single episode designed to help you feel better on those days. Today let’s focus on how to be happier and the 40% of our happiness set point that we influence with our daily habits, behaviors, and thoughts.
Here’s the truth:
Whether we are in the middle of COVID or on vacation, our happiness set point is what it is. We can point fingers of blame at external circumstances but in reality, they impact us 10% or less. Right now, we are thinking THIS is the worst. The MOST awful. We tell ourselves that if we could just rewind to last year then things would be so much better. Yet do you know that in 2019, 1.4 million Americans attempted suicide and 54% of our country was taking some form of anti-depressant? That’s before COVID people.
Reality check: things weren’t working then. It’s just life was so busy that we didn’t have to pay attention to it.
Life has slowed down and now we get to pay attention. We get to pay attention to that 40% and take radical responsibility for our life and feeling state.
The pursuit of happiness
In the Declaration of Independence, one of the documents upon which this country was founded, it states that we have certain unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The pursuit of happiness. Many of us take this to mean that we need to chase happiness. We have this idea that happiness is something outside of us that we need to pursue: like a new car; a new house; that new job. NOPE. If that were the fact, then you wouldn’t have any unhappy rich people. You wouldn’t hear of wealthy people who seem to have it all, on antidepressants, in therapy, and or in unhappy relationships.
At the time the declaration was written, the use of the word pursuit was synonymous with practice. It meant that we are given the right to practice happiness. It’s like the forefathers gave us a little wink, or a little lesson (that at this point I’m wishing could’ve been a bit clearer, like hit us over the head with it) so we don’t go around thinking once I have that, then I’ll be happy. But for now, I’ve heard the lesson and am spreading it. We have the inalienable right to PRACTICE happiness. Happiness doesn’t come from the outside or external factors. It comes from daily habits, behaviors, and ways of thinking that we practice.
Let’s get into 4 easy ways to be happier:
Today let’s talk about four easy things you can do to be happier by raising your happiness set point. I go in depth into which specific habits and behaviors set us up for the most success while setting you up with accountability to do them. If you’re interested, hurry over to smbwell.com/bestself to see if there are still spots left. It’s only open twice a year and if you’re listening to this, there might still be room for you!
1. Get clear on your personal values
The secret to living a life you love and living a life you don’t want to escape from lies in knowing your values. What’s important to you? I have an exercise to do this in my program and I hope you’ll join us. Whether you’re in the program or not, one of the tricks to practicing happiness is to know what your values are. When you live intentionally and in alignment with your values, you end up living a life you LOVE. If you bumble along, doing things others want you to do or doing things you think you “should” do, you feel unfulfilled, resentful, and empty.
Getting clear on our values helps us design our days more intentionally. We think we’re exhausted, drained or overwhelmed because we’re so busy. Au contraire my dear. We’re unhappy and drained because we are too busy doing things that aren’t in alignment with our values. The key in practicing and pursuing happiness is not about doing more, it’s about making sure that what you’re doing is important to you.
2. Do you
Which leads us to number two way to be happier. You do you. Let go of what others think. Other people are going to think what they’re going to think. What they think of you says a lot more about them than it does about you. Go back to my July podcast series on self- acceptance and confidence. When you stop caring so much what others think, you pay more attention to what you think.
3. Radical self acceptance
Draw a line in the sand. Get super, super strict about accepting yourself. I call it radical self- acceptance because we are not taught to accept and approve of ourselves as we are. Especially if we’re females. From an early age, we are encouraged to fit into a super tiny box of expectations. Be a good girl. Don’t be too emotional; too loud; or too opinionated; blah blah blah….F that I say! Be radical in your acceptance of yourself. Why? Because you’re you for a reason. Plus, if you don’t accept yourself, you attract a lot of people into your life who don’t accept you either and that does NOT lead to happiness.
Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Train your brain to look for what’s right over what’s wrong. Our brain isn’t used to this. It has a negativity bias. It wants us to remember what’s negative so that we survive the next day.
The problem is that we’re not cavewomen any more. We don’t need to live in a state of stress or worry. Something that sets us up to survive in those days has now, in modern time, become detrimental to our health and immunity. Practicing gratitude for ourselves and our imperfectness is a proven way to rewire our brain, lower stress, and increase our happiness set point. Focus more on what’s going well than what’s going wrong.
I have many past posts and podcasts on how to do this and if you need help finding them, leave a comment and I’ll send some your way. The important message is to find a way that works for you. Some people like writing out 3-5 things before bed that went well over your day while others like starting their day thinking of 2-4 things they’re happy about while others like writing out 3-5 things that aren’t going wrong. Find a way to incorporate gratitude into your daily life and then do it. Yes, it works. Your happiness matters to me.
Your small choices matter
There you have it; four easy things that you can start doing today that will help you raise your happiness set point and make you happier.
The small things we do every day turn into habits, which turn into ways of being.
What we repeat in our day becomes our week, our month, our year, our decade and finally becomes our life.
Life happens fast if we let it.
I encourage you to take a breath today or tomorrow and ask yourself:
-Where are you going?
-How do you feel most days?
If you answer anything other than great, please sign up for my program. Don’t wait until October, November, or even next September to feel regret.
Join others in saying that this program is the best gift you’ve ever given yourself.
When you live intentionally and in alignment with your values, you end up living a life you LOVE.
When you bumble along, doing things others want you to do or doing things you think you “should” do, you feel unfulfilled, resentful, and empty.
Choose something different.
Hear this as your wake up call.
What do you want this month and day to be like?
I’m waiting and here to help!