If you won millions in the lottery, do you think you'd be happier than you are right now?
One study has shown that people who win the lottery are indeed happier for a while after winning, but after only a few months, they return to their pre-lottery level of happiness.
The same study found that people who suffered permanently disabling injuries also return to near their original level of happiness after some months as well.
The reason for this is your “happiness set point,” and Dawson Church, PhD knows the scientifically proven secrets to raising your set point permanently so you can live a happier life.
(And, as I’ll share with you later, to live longer and look younger, too!)
As Church explains it, our hormones play a major role in maintaining our happiness set point. Our bodies are configured to reach a balance of two key hormones: cortisol, our main stress hormone, and DHEA, our main healing hormone.
If we get stressed our cortisol levels rise, and if we are feeling happy and peaceful our DHEA rises. But when the levels of either hormone go higher than a range that our bodies are accustomed to, our bodies will self-regulate by lowering or raising the amount of the hormone.
As a result, we wind up always returning to around the same level of happiness….
The good news: You can rewire your brain and change your happiness set point.
Epigenetics is the study of how genes are expressed in relationship to the world that they are exposed to.
Old science told us that our genes are inherited things set it stone, so to speak, but the new science of epigenetics tells us that our genes — including those which impact our happiness levels — can be changed by our environment, our actions, even our thoughts.
It’s this science that has shed light on how your actions and thoughts can alter your levels of cortisol and DHEA to rewire your brain and change your happiness set point, despite what your genes are currently coded to do.
In other words, you have the power to change your hormonal balance and experience more happiness daily.
Dawson Church teaches that the intentional repetition of practices and thoughts that move you from from worry and anxiety to love, joy and inner peace is what can shift your hormones in the right direction and uplevel your happiness set point.
Yoga, meditation, Heartmath and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) are all proven techniques Church recommends to get your peaceful, healing DHEA hormone flowing, but he also stresses that you should try out a multitude of techniques for creating inner peace to see what works best for you.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach for a happiness practice, but there is one important key to all of them: deliberate repetition.
The more frequently we think these same thoughts and perform the same patterns, the more neural pathways we produce in our brains that will cement these thought, hormone and action patterns in our brains, and thereby affect our set point.
So if we can deliberately choose to keep these patterns up, they will soon become the new norm. Meditation or Heartmath practice every once in awhile is great, but to actually create lasting change in your happiness set point, you will have to repeat your practice many times to truly rewire your brain.
So what about living longer and looking younger?
Cortisol, that nasty stress hormone, is scientifically proven to be linked to loss of muscle and bone mass and, most importantly, premature death. DHEA, on the other hand, is linked to clear skin, healthy bones, and even the reduction of wrinkles over time.
The science of stress is that it ages us, whereas happiness and peace will keep us looking younger and living longer.
So if feeling happy isn’t enough incentive for you to try meditation or another happiness practice, then maybe a long life with beautiful skin will convince you!
PS - Ingrigued by the ideas included above? If so, you're invited to download Dawson Church's free audio on Activating Your Happiness Genes: