How often haven´t you made an important decision because you were afraid to become unhappy because of it? We humans tend to have a negativity bias and focus more on what can go wrong than on what can go right. I reflected on this when I heard about the concept of the Happiness Set Point, which, according to happiness researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky, means that after positive events and after negative events, we tend to go back to our baseline, our quite stable level of happiness. So this means that after winning the lottery, but also after a big negative impact like losing your job or divorce, we will go back to this level eventually. 50% of our happiness level is determined by genetics, but there is still 40% that we can influence by our thoughts, attitudes and actions (10% is caused by external factors).
Is it possible to increase this level? Fortunately we can, if you consciently chose to work on that. Activities like meditation, trying to live more in the present, appreciation of the people and beauty around you and voluntary work are a few examples of how you can improve your happiness set point. Not all actions are effective for every person, and adjustments need to be made regarding cultural differences, but at least it might make you happier just to know this!