The Lessons of Marci Shimoff #1:
The Happiness Set Point
If I had to pick a book in the past decade that changed my life the most, it would Marci Shimoff and Carol Kline's Happy for No Reason. The book literally builds you a blueprint of happiness with each part of the house representing a different part of your life. Happy inspired me to write my own book on the subject and has increased my own happiness levels through the roof. The major discovery of the book that got me fully on board was the concept of the happiness set point.
According to Marci Shimoff, research has shown that each of us is born with a certain happiness set point that more or less controls our average emotion that we tend to gravitate toward at a state of rest. The studies showed that even if a person won the lottery or lost the use of his legs in an accident, the respective boosting and lowering of happiness tended to change back to original levels after a year or so. According to the research, the happiness set point is about 50 percent the result of genetics. The rest of it is dependent on your thoughts, feelings and beliefs, which are fortunately able to change. Change the way you think, act or look at the world in a positive way and you can actually raise your average levels of happiness.
I had always been a person who wanted to work on his happiness levels, because I was born with naturally melodramatic and negative emotions. Learning that I had the ability to change 50 percent of my average emotional set point was an amazing revelation for me. I had always assumed that it was much lower and that I was fighting a losing battle. I was given renewed energy by the research by Marci Shimoff and with vigor I gobbled up the rest of her book. With her exercises and advice, I was able to take new steps toward a happier me.
To those of you who feel that your thoughts, feelings and beliefs are as set in stone as that birthmark on your right leg, I have two words for you: lighten up. While these aspects of our persona are difficult to change and it can take a long time to change them, it's certainly not impossible. I hope that Marci Shimoff and Carol Kline's book along with my upcoming book can change your mind about altering your levels of happiness. With a little bit of extra effort, you'll bring happiness into your wheelhouse faster than you can say "birthmark on your right leg."
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