Would you describe yourself as a generally happy person? Or would you say that most of the time you feel too down and pessimistic about life to be able to describe yourself that way?
Sure, there are times when something good happens—you go on vacation, you fall in love, you buy a new house or car—and you are happier for a while.
Or you come face to face with a challenge, and you get down in the dumps for a few days or maybe months.
But for the most part, I’m willing to bet that you can look back on your life and decide that you’ve either been a basically happy person, or you’ve struggled with being unhappy or sad the majority of the time.
There may be a good reason for that, as you’re about to find out.
Plus, if you think that your disposition is lifelong and not something that’s likely to change any time soon, I’m going to reveal something in this article that just may transform the rest of your life—even if you already think you’re a generally upbeat person.
But first, let’s examine whether or not some of us are just born happy or sad, and if so, why that is.
When I was growing up, I wouldn’t have said that I was a happy girl. When I look at photos of myself with my family, I’m always the one who isn’t smiling.
As a kid, I struggled to muster up the energy to do anything. I had to eat sugary sweets all the time just to be able to get my chores and homework done.
I was also a bummer to be around much of the time. Life felt like one big, giant DRAG.
I jokingly tell people that I must have been born depressed.
I must have taken after my mother, who actually WAS afflicted with depression almost her entire life.
I certainly didn’t take after my dad, who was the happiest person I knew. His motto was, “Every day I’m breathing is a good day.” Almost NOTHING could bring him down for long. He woke up and went to bed smiling and always had something positive to say.
When I was a teenager I asked my dad what I could do to become a happier person. Unfortunately, he didn’t know.
It wasn’t until later in life that I was able to answer that question, after doing years of research and hundreds of interviews on the topic of happiness.
What I discovered about the nature of happiness both confirmed my suspicions and astounded me.
It also led to a transformation in my own happiness level. So that even after a lifetime of being chronically dissatisfied with life, I was able to be happy, and for no particular reason. I just felt an ease about life that I never felt before.
And that was something I had never experienced before.
Here’s how that unfolded…
I may have been born a mopey kid, but I didn’t want to spend my life being that way.
As a young woman, I decided that I would work hard to do the things I thought would make me happy. I would have a great career, great friends, a comfortable home, a knock-out “Halle Berry” body, and a loving life partner.
The body part didn’t turn out exactly like I had envisioned, but I am healthy and can’t complain.
As for everything else, I did achieve the rest of the goals I set for myself, even gaining fame and fortune as a best-selling author of several books. I went on book tours, gave speeches to thousands of people, and received much praise and recognition from people all over the world.
You’d think that achievement would be something that would bring anyone a lifetime of satisfaction and bliss.
But guess what? I still wasn’t happy!
This was when I decided I was going to figure out this happiness thing, once and for all.
I spent the next several years focusing on the topic of happiness. I dove into the research in the field of positive psychology.
I interviewed scores of experts on happiness. I conducted my own surveys about happiness.
I also interviewed 100 people who were actually living from the state I call “happy for no reason.”
What I discovered excited me, because it finally explained why I wasn’t happy as a kid or as a successful adult, even though I thought I had a lot to be happy about.
The research I did revealed that our permanent default state of happiness and wellbeing is determined by what experts call a happiness set-point.
Our happiness set-point is like a thermostat setting. No matter what happens to us, good or bad, we will tend to hover around a certain set-point—unless we do something consciously to change it.
This explains why people who win the lottery may be happy at first, but within a few months to a year go back to their default happiness set-point. If they were sad and negative before they won the lottery, they go back to being sad and negative.
(And this also explains why I still wasn’t happy despite winning the “lottery” of fame and fortune with my writing career.)
This is also true for people who have a high happiness set-point, or who are naturally happy and positive most of the time. If they experience a tragedy, within a few months or a year they’re back to their upbeat, optimistic selves.
This led me to wonder, can we increase our happiness set-point? And if so, how?
To answer that question, I had to find out how our set-point is determined to begin with.
Here’s something else I discovered through my research:
Our happiness set-point is 50% genetic.
We’re born with it. It’s in our DNA. If your mother or father was a happy person, you may be, too. Or, you may have inherited your mother’s or father’s tendency to be sad or negative.
This was true for me. Remember, my mother was chronically sad, and that part of my DNA must have come from her.
Now, it’s been thought that we can’t change our DNA. And for those of us who know we’ve inherited our downer disposition, that may seem like a bummer!
You can raise your happiness set-point if you alter your circumstances: your wealth, health, relationships, or lot in life. However, this aspect alone only determines 10% of your happiness set-point.
That’s such a small piece of the pie, barely a sliver of the overall picture, and yet most of us spend so much of our time and energy working hard (like I did) trying to change our circumstances in order to feel happier.
We work long hours for better careers so we can make more money, so we can buy that amazing house, or go on that exotic vacation, and retire early, so we can finally be free…and happy.
Or we suffer through breakups, months of bad dating experiences, and get our hopes up when we meet someone we really like, all in hopes that once we find the perfect partner, we will finally feel joyful and at peace.
Here’s the astounding thing:
The remaining 40% of our happiness set-point is determined by our habits of thought and behavior. How was this measured? Because when researchers studied naturally happy people, they discovered that the biggest difference between them and everyone else was their habits.Learn Happiness Habits
And ANYONE could learn and practice these habits, and by doing so, raise their happiness set-point, and even defy their genetic fate. Some progressive scientists in the field of epigenetics believe that we can influence or change our DNA (50% of the equation) by changing our habits.
In other words, put together, you can have influence over 90% of your happiness set-point if you change your habits of thought and behavior to match those of naturally happy people.
You wouldn’t even need to bother trying to change your circumstances by making more money or moving to a different city or losing those 15 pounds.
Because if you could raise your happiness set-point, you’d be happy no matter what.
You’d wake up each morning with a smile on your face and a bounce in your step and you’d be excited about each and every day.
Because, just as my dad used to say, “Every day you’re breathing is a good day.”
Maybe up until now you thought that money, looks, success, and a fantastic career were the keys to a happy life. And maybe you’ve spent a lot of mental energy trying to achieve or acquire the things you thought would make you happy.
But if that assumption were true, we’d have a whole lot more happy people in Hollywood, right? But as we all know, people in Hollywood aren’t necessarily all that much happier than the rest of us.
Also, if you think you’ve got a genetic predisposition to be a sad or negative person, you already know that even good news and good luck can’t make you happy for long.
Happiness feels fleeting, even for those of us who consider ourselves positive and upbeat people.
We now know that the best way to become a happier person every day is to learn and emulate the thought and behavior habits of deeply happy people. That’s the only way we can be happy in a way that lasts.
But human beings are creatures of habit—meaning, it’s not that easy for us to change our habitual patterns. Changing what feels normal and natural can feel uncomfortable. It can even feel painful or overwhelming.
That’s why I created my 30 Days to a Happier Life video program. I wanted to teach you how to change your habits in a way that’s fun and easy, and in bite-sized pieces that you can do in as little as 10 minutes a day.
Once you commit to taking those 10-15 minutes a day to changing your habits, you may find that you start to feel lighter, freer, and happier more quickly than you imagine.
You’ll notice the habitual things you’ve perhaps done your entire life that have contributed to your melancholy and negative outlook, and you’ll know HOW to shift your habits so you’ll no longer be dragged down by your thoughts.
You’ll worry less and look forward to things more.
After a month of watching the daily videos, you may even find that your mood and energy transform.
You’ll wake up every morning looking forward to the day instead of dreading it. Your relationships will improve because your friends, co-workers, and family will enjoy your company more. The quality of your work will go up, because you’ll start to see the greater purpose in what you may have previously considered “mundane.”
When you raise your happiness set-point, everything gets better, because the way you look at the world and your life shifts 180 degrees. That’s why focusing on happiness FIRST is the easiest way to improve your circumstances (not the other way around).
If you’re ready to feel happier in 30 days, you can start right now, risk-free, with Day 1 and see for yourself how this program can change your life:Start Now
Back when I was a teenager, I would have given myself a D+ in happiness. I would say now…thanks to the happiness habits I practice, I would give myself an A.
I would say that I’m still a work in progress. And yes, things come along that are challenging, but they don’t drag me down for long.
I now have a deep sense of inner happiness and peace that I didn’t have when I was younger. It turned out to be possible for me, despite my genetic predisposition.
I know that if you go through my 30-day video program and learn new habits, it’s possible for you, too.
With love and happiness,
P.S. Most programs, books, and advice on this topic usually only focus on one or two aspects of happiness. For example, how to improve your health and be happier. Or how to change your thought patterns and become a more grounded and positive person.
But my program focuses on ALL 7 AREAS that affect happiness: how to rewire your brain circuits, change your physiology, experience more physical energy, connect with your heart and your authentic self, nurture your relationships and spiritual life, and live your purpose.
It’s holistic and it’s fun and easy to do. Get started now and see for yourself how easy it is to go 30 Days to a Happier Life:Get Started