March 7, 2007 — Once cheerful, always happy? Once testy, continuously testy? Possibly not, agreeing to a unused audit of bliss investigate.
The review centers on the “joy set point” theory, which recommends that individuals have a joy set point, a natural level of joy they gravitate to, despite temporary rises and falls in happiness.
But your joy set point may not be carved in stone, recommends Michigan State College professor Richard Lucas, PhD.
Major life occasions such as getting separated, losing a job, or becoming impaired may reset your happiness set point, composes Lucas.
“Joy levels do alter; adjustment is not inevitable; and life occasions do matter,” Lucas says.
His review appears within the April edition of Current Bearings in Psychological Science.
Brain research of Bliss
Lucas checked on data from a German ponder of nearly 40,000 people and a British ponder of more than 27,000.
The German ponder kept going 21 a long time; the British study for 14 a long time. Members every year appraised their life fulfillment and detailed any major life changes they had experienced in the past year.
As the happiness set point theory recommends, individuals tended to adjust to major life events. But that process now and then took numerous a long time and didn’t always lead back to past levels of life fulfillment.
For instance, Lucas notes that it takes about seven a long time after the death of a spouse for widows and widowers to return to the level of life satisfaction they had before their life partner died.
Meanwhile, the temporary bounce in joy after getting hitched for the most part fades “inside fair one or two of a long time,” writes Lucas. That doesn’t mean married individuals are troubled, just that — inside many a long time — they ended up almost as happy as they were some time recently saying “I do.”
Lucas moreover noticed that, justifiably, individuals detailed less life satisfaction after getting separated or losing a work. But he didn’t see people bounce back to their previous level of life fulfillment after those events.
That doesn’t cruel getting separated or losing a work continuously lowers long-term happiness.
Not all marriages or jobs are cheerful and satisfying. So for some, divorce and job loss may ultimately lead to a much better life.
People also vary a parcel in how much they adjust to life occasions, Lucas notes.
The researcher doesn’t reject the joy set point theory. He says joy is “moderately stable” over time but cautions that people can still encounter “huge and lasting changes” within the feeling.