Psychologists seem to have come to the conclusion that we have a baseline level of happiness. No matter whether we bump into George Clooney in our local Tesco, or experience some dreadful misfortune, sooner or later we return to our built-in spirit level.
This is essentially a good thing, as it means we can bounce back from the less desirable slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (as Mr S. would have it). The downside is that there doesn’t seem to be much we can do to raise our overall happiness bar.
New research presents a more optimistic picture (see the research digest at www.bps.org.uk for more info). Mochon and colleagues point towards the idea that big events like winning the lottery don’t alter our level of happiness in the long term. Regular mini happiness hits do.
Mochon questioned two groups – regular worshippers of many religious denominations and gym/yoga class fans. The findings were similar – the more often people attended, the happier they reported themselves to be.
Small but repeated boosts to happiness seem to be the order of the day. Today mine will be finishing reading a 70 page article and then putting my feet up in front of the TV. What will yours be?