Today is that day I think the “realist and the pessimists” are looking for. Out to prove this gratitude thing wrong. Ok. Here’s the quote from Dr. Robert Emmons's
“Researchers suggest that each person has a chronic or characteristic level of happiness. According to this idea, people have happiness set-points to which they inevitably return following disruptive life events. Getting that book published, moving to California, having the person of your dreams answer your personal ad, each of these may send the happiness meter right off the scale for a while but, in a few months, it will drift back to the set-point that is typical for that individual. What goes up must come down.”
Well, that’s rather discouraging news. According to Emmons your genetics determine a happiness set-point to which you gravitate towards. Meaning in good and bad times you have a set point. Why is this? The reason is called adaptation.
Humans are great at adaptation. After all it is what has allowed us to survive the toughest obstacles thrown at us. Therefore we tend to take good things for granted. We forget--and that sets our happiness point.
Even if extremes hit us: If you lose your job then find another one, or have been poor your whole life only to win the lottery you will have a spike of happiness for a time but then you will return to the same set point because you will start to take it for granted (UNLESS you are ACTIVELY practicing GRATITUDE).
Some people are genetically programmed to be happy all the time, while others may be programmed for chronic unhappiness. Ouch--that life. BUT---here is the GREAT NEWS! Your genetic happiness set-point “only determines 50% of your overall happiness!”
Look at this: your INTENTIONAL ACTIVITY (or behavior) can influence over 40% of that genetic happiness. There is 10% that is outside circumstances (weather, others, etc). Genetic set-point: 50%Circumstances: 10%Intentional activity (behavior): 40%
Most people are trying to improve their outside circumstances. For example, they focus on wanting more money, or a better car, maybe they want to change the way their body looks, or wish their spouse looked better or acted differently, or they want the perfect job, and so forth.
However, Dr. Robert Emmons’s research tells us that this is the wrong way to go about it. Remember a few days ago what the research found? Participants in the activity must write 5 things (at least) they are grateful/thankful for every day for 10 weeks and BAM their happiness INCREASED by 25%. That writing activity is just ONE way to change your behavior. “Focusing on your behavior (40%) makes much more sense than focusing on your circumstances (10%). It’s much easier and is 4x more powerful for increasing your levels of happiness.”*
REMEMBER that the KEY way to CHANGE that BEHAVIOR is GRATITUDE! Start today! Why not? What do you have to lose? All that negativity?? Then YES! DO it!