Posted by: tiggerproject | May 10, 2012

The Happiness “Set Point”

In 1996, David Lykken of the University of Minnesota published his findings about happiness.  By studying 4000 sets of identical and fraternal twins, he found that satisfaction with life is approximately 50% genetic, regardless of economic standing.  Whether we experience highs or lows, we eventually return to our happiness “set point” much like our weight set point.  The good news is that our set point can be increased (like our metabolism) and therefore alter our natural state of being.

This is what the American Psychological Association writes about Lykken’s work:  “Dr. Lykken demonstrated how nature and nurture work to affect our sense of well-being and how, within wide limits, people can determine their own happiness. Many of the things we suppose will make us happy are illusory, while the things that really work turn out to be simple and accessible to nearly everyone. He shows that people with high IQs are no happier than the rest of us, nor are the rich, the famous, or the social elites. Winning the lottery may make us happier for a month or two, but soon we’re back at the level of contentment where we were before the big event. Dr. Lykken suggests that one way to extract the most enjoyment from life is to become an epicure of experience, by learning to think about and savor each pleasurable occurrence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

If we can truly alter our happiness set point, this is truly great news for all of us.  While circumstances may be beyond our control, how we navigate this reality is in our own hands.


  1. You write so honestly about this. Thanks for shriang!

    • Thanks Nona! Keep smiling…Kristina

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