if happiness is thermostat“Happiness seems to be more like a thermostat,
since our temperaments tend to bring us back towards a certain happiness level
(a tendency influenced by carefully chosen activities and habits).”
— Wikipedia

How to raise your happiness set point:

1.  Journal: Awareness is the first step to creating any change. To grow in self-awareness, begin to journal about the “moments of your day”: write down

– what made you happy that day,
– what made you smile,
– what made you laugh,
– who you were you with,
– what you were thinking/feeling
– when you were most relaxed, most contented.

On the flip side, also notice the stressors in your life, the downers, the energy vampires, the things you found unpleasant or negative or drained you. Notice your triggers, positive and negative. How can you seek out more of the things that lift you up?

2.  Mind the monkey chatter: As much as anything else, our world view impacts our happiness and sense of subjective well being. Pay attention to the thoughts in your head, direct them in a positive manner. What you focus on expands, thoughts held in mind attract in kind.  While you may not be able to fully control the thoughts that come to mind, you certainly are in charge of the thoughts that stay in mind. As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

3. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude: Count your blessings daily, make a list of all the wonderful things in your life. If you have trouble making a list, think of the biblical Job, think of all things you’d miss if they disappeared from your life. Your job, your house, your loved ones, your friends, your health, your freedom? What to make it all too real? Imagine the phone ringing and it’s the hospital emergency room on the line and they ask you to sit down before they continue the conversation…

4. Get busy: Happiness is a most often a by-product of a fulfilled life, a life on purpose, a life lived with meaning. The meaning of life is a question life asks of us, not one we ask of life and to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice your gifts. Contribute, connect, celebrate.

There you have it folks: Four simple (though not necessarily easy) steps to raise your happiness set point. Go at it, release your brakes, you’ve got what it takes, your best life awaits you!