“Although the Declaration of Independence upholds the right topursue happiness, that search can be a never-ending quest,”said Kennon Sheldon, professor of psychological sciences in theCollege of Arts and Sciences. “Previous research shows that anindividual’s happiness can increase after major life changes, suchas starting a new romantic relationship, but over time happinesstends to return to a previous level. Through our research, wedeveloped a model to help people maintain higher levels ofhappiness derived from beneficial changes. The model consists oftwo major components: the need to keep having new and positivelife-changing experiences and the need to keep appreciating whatyou already have and not want more too soon.” In the recent study, Sheldon, along with co-author SonjaLyubomirsky of the University of California, Riverside, firstsurveyed 481 people about their happiness. Six weeks laterparticipants identified a recent positive change in their livesthat had made them happier. Neodymium Disk Magnet
Six weeks after that, the psychologistsevaluated whether the original happiness boost had lasted. For someit had, but for most it had not. The psychologists then tested andconfirmed their model for predicting whose boost had lasted. “The majority got used to the change that had made them happyin the first place,” Sheldon said. “They stopped beinghappy because they kept wanting more and raising their standards,or because they stopped having fresh positive experiences of thechange, for example they stopped doing fun things with their newboyfriend and started wishing he was better looking. Neodymium Speaker Magnets
A few wereable to appreciate what they had and to keep having newexperiences. In the long term, those people tended to maintaintheir boost, rather than falling back where they started.” Due to genetics and other factors, individuals have a certain”set-point” of happiness they normally feel. Some peopletend to be bubbly, while others are more somber, though individualsvary in a range around their set-point. Sheldon’s research suggestshow people can train themselves to stay at the top of theirpossible range of happiness. “A therapist can help a person get from miserable to OK; ourstudy shows how people can take themselves from good togreat,” Sheldon said. Neodymium Block Magnets
Sheldon also noted that the best life changes don’t necessarilyequate to new purchases. Although a shiny new possession can boosthappiness, that purchase has to be experienced anew every day andappreciated for what it brings to have any lasting effect onhappiness. “The problem with many purchases is that they tend to just sitthere,” said Sheldon. “They don’t keep on providingvaried positive experiences. Also, relying on material purchases tomake us happy can lead to a faster rise in aspirations, like anaddiction.
Hence, many purchases tend to be only quick fixes. Ourmodel suggests ways to reduce the ‘let down’ from those purchases.For example, if you renovate your house, enjoy it and have manyhappy experiences in the new environment, but don’t compare yournew decor to the Joneses’.”.