Is our happiness controlled by a thermostat?
There have been tons of studies with good, solid evidence — not just in the U.S., but all over the world — about a so-called happiness thermostat.
This is interesting…
Lottery winners tend to go right back to the baseline level of happiness of where they were before they won.
Let’s say, based on a one-to-ten scale, they were at a five before they won the lottery. The researchers measured their happiness level within two weeks after winning and generally found that their happiness level hit a nine, a ten (or a twelve).
But within two months to a year following, almost all of them went back to wherever their happiness level was before they won. So if they were at a five before, they went back to a five.
They also did the same studies on accident victims – to paraplegics and people who had traumatic injuries. They found the same phenomenon, but of course they found that their happiness level had dropped. However, the same thing – two months to a year later, they got happier again back to where they were before the accident.
What does that tell us?
That tells us that we’re about as happy as we make our minds up to be.
Now, this phenomenon doesn’t just stop at the happiness we feel. It also applies to how the world unfolds for us.
Take the example of the lottery winners. A third of them are bankrupt within five years. Twenty percent are divorced, and so on.
The main point to understand is this happiness level – this satisfaction level – is proof that we can have the greatest fortune (or greatest misfortune) and we will go to the greatest happiness or unhappiness level, which ever one it is. But most of us will go right back to that basic satisfaction level, wherever we were before.
I don’t know about you, but to me that is wild.
And that’s proof that happiness is an internal picture.
The good news is with releasing, we can change the set point – the thermostat. We can change the inner picture consciously.
It still amazes me how a releaser can have something really bad happen to them, but they can kick right back into it very quickly.
I had a lady call me who had her brother die a few days before and she had just come back from the funeral and she was just in heavy grieving.
We released and she realized it was just a decision she made of how long she was going to grieve. In about twenty minutes, she was at a level of feeling really good about him – having really great memories about him and feeling really solid about everything. It’s not that she lost her ability to be sensitive. She just quickly rose to the place where she had only loving feelings for her brother.
That was quick!
When you apply the releasing, things just don’t bring you down as much. And if they do, you have the tools to bring yourself right back up, and even better.
The important thing to take from this is to notice where your thermostat is set and use releasing to move that meter up. Applying the tools will enable you to take yourself off of this automatic mechanism.
With a little practice, you’ll find it easy to spot the tendencies to level off and you can dig up whatever program is there and move yourself up to a whole new level – permanently.
That way, you begin controlling you happiness directly.