Who is happier – a person who just won the lottery or someone who just had a debilitating accident and has become a paraplegic?
Most people think that the person who just won the lottery is happier, but in fact, the answer is neither. Both of these people return to the level of happiness they had before their life changing event. In other words, according to Sonya Lyubormirsky, each of us has our own happiness set point, and after either good or bad events come our way in life, we recalibrate back towards this set point.
So does this mean that if we are the kind of person who sees the cup as half empty we are doomed to a life of unhappiness regardless of whether or not we win the lottery, become rich and famous, or get everything we ever wanted? Is enduring happiness elusive to some people? According to Lyubormirsky, the answer is no. While a portion of our happiness set point is genetically determined, a portion can be molded by the fact that our brains have structural plasticity, or the ability to change as a result of our behavior. You can raise your happiness set point by practicing activities such as expressing gratitude, practicing acts of kindness, learning to forgive, savoring life’s joys, and committing to your goals.
So, each of us has the innate potential for happiness, and on this website you will find a variety of activities that are geared towards raising your happiness level. Before you begin, take this quiz to determine which happiness activities are the best fit for you.
An important aspect of your happiness and mental health is the way you take care of yourself, or your daily personal practice. The little things that you do each day are more important than your circumstances in predicting your happiness. Here you will find some activities that you can do to take care of yourself, care for others, and build your mental health muscle.