Humans Are Designed to Be Happy
Our brains are wired to help us be happy. We have complex nervous systems that include mirror neurons (the thing that causes you to smile back when someone smiles at you), the ability to vocalize, touch & make eye contact as well as complex chemical reactions that release oxytocin (the nurturing chemical), dopamine (the habit former) and seratonin.
What Does This Means in Plain English?
Humans are wired for happiness. We have JOY, GRATITUDE, SERENITY, INTEREST, HOPE, PRIDE, AMUSEMENT, INSPIRATION, AWE and LOVE as our most common positive emotions
If Happiness is so Simple, Why Are So Many People Unhappy?
Humans are wired to be happy however, we have a few factors that can make happiness a challenge to achieve. First, we have a negativity bias- powerful negative emotions pack a stronger chemical release than positive emotions. This mean that we need approximately seven good things to counteract each bad thing.
We also have a happiness set point. This is how happy we are on average. And when we encounter something really great OR something really terrible, we usually wind up back at our set point within a calendar year. This means that winning the lottery or getting a divorce affect your overall happiness in the same way. After the initial surge of excitement or anger, you return to your set point.
Can I Change My Set Point?
We need to "train out" negative thought patterns like
1. Perfectionism (inappropriate levels of expectation)
2. Social Comparison (striving to compete with others)
3. Materialism (the belief that material accumulation will make you happy)
4. Maximizing (continual searching for better options even when satisfied)
Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body ~ George Carlin
Simple Ways to Change Your Set Point
What do YOU do that boosts your mood? I'd love to hear in the comments!