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Thread: Do we have a set point

  1. #1
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    Do we have a set point

    Of mood a nd happiness? I have great things going on, better medication, taking walks and meditating on a regular basis. I am back to my set point it seems, moderate depression the first part of every day. I guess that no matter what I try to do there is stress and the holidays. I see my kids on Christmas Eve but will be alone on Christmas day, maybe that is enough.

  2. #2
    Moderator Float On's Avatar
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    I've learned I need to avoid all real estate signs. They trigger me. I've always wanted to move a few times - have different houses, live in different places. Every time a real estate sign pops up in my rural neighborhood I get a sudden depression/waunderlust/jealousy over new opportunities. My husband is not interested. ;( I think it especially bothers me when I know the people have only lived here less than 5 years. I want to shout "no fair" I've been here almost 30 years. A neighbor who has lived here 3 years plopped up a for sale sign just yesterday. I can't avoid that sign since it's on the only way in/out of our closed loop road.

    Then I have to repeat to myself positive affirmations, "I like my house, I like my yard, I enjoy the lakes, I love the clear water, I enjoy my yard projects, etc..."
    Last edited by Float On; 12-6-18 at 3:43pm.
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

  3. #3
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I suspect there is an emotional set point--the science seems to suggest a genetically-determined range of depressive symptoms, for example. I think the range can be manipulated by diet, life changes, etc. Perhaps epigenetics are in play.

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    I am totally off the diet plan that helps me out a lot, however it is challenging. I may have to wait through the holiday season to get back on track. I am also really seeing how I don't understand my own feelings as well as I thought.

    I am really hoping to change the set-point. It is really frustrating after so much work the last year. I wrote to my counselor and have a psych appointment this month. I am waiting to go to the DR for awhile, nothing wrong there but okay for a check up.

  5. #5
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    There seems to be a broad consensus--very broad--among psychologists who research the happiness thing that about half a person's level of happiness is determined by the way they are wired. That's a set point they will deviate from in response to good or bad fortune, but will always return to. A fairly small percentage of happiness (10-15 as I recall) is controlled by fixed external circumstance (economic class, physical appearance, stuff like that) and the remainder is under the individual's control.

  6. #6
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    I decided that I was in charge of my thinking. As Oldhat mentioned, some stuff may be biologically and externally compromised but how we approach each day, IMHO, is under out control.

    Waking up and affirming that today is a wonderful day and looking for all the ways that it is a wonderful day. I have fresh water, warmth, food, shelter, planned activities, physical freedom, sufficient funds etc for this day. I enjoy a wave from a little child, a smile from a passing stranger, a thank you for a door held open...

    Happiness for me is rarely big things but every day there are celebrations to enjoy. Do I get tempted to feel down or hurt or whatever, absolutely, but I am in charge of my thinking. I argue with myself about all the good going on right now in my life and shortly after, the dark mood lifts. Does it take practice and determination? Yes, but it is just for this moment and this day. Tomorrow is in the future to be dealt with then.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  7. #7
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    A friend of mine, Lee, has his "ball theory."

    He thinks that when you are born you are given a Ball of Happiness.

    He is 75, spry, mobile, fun, clever, hilarious, charming, musical, and has plenty of energy. And he said when he was born he got a jumbo beach ball of happiness.

    But our mutual friend Frank, who shot himself in the head with a .45 Long Colt was born with a golf ball sized ball of happiness.

    Lee's wife died a few years back. He was sad for a while, but he and his jumbo beach ball bounced back.

    Frank is six feet in a hole.

    I'd say I have a softball sized ball of happiness.

  8. #8
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    I grew up with two depressed, divorced alcoholic parents and I could have gone down the same path but I realized that was not a way I wanted to live my days. If our moods are indeed genetic, then I overcame it by sheer will. I do recall that when I was younger that I would feel somewhat depressed/anxious when I first woke up so I always wondered if that was a physical issue, ie thyroid, hormonal etc.

  9. #9
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    I agree with having a set point for some of it and some control over the rest. I think life events can also tip the balance too depending on how bad the event is. A good friend of mine lost her 19 yo daughter 7 years ago and it has had a lasting effect. She can still enjoy life but has a problem with depression she never had before.

  10. #10
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I believe in a set point that in is, at least in part, governed by genetics and/or brain chemistry--kind of like UL's friend's Ball Theory. Obviously, just because you have a set point doesn't mean you can't rise above it, but it may take work and medication. I'm not a doctor, so take this with a grain of salt, but I've always felt that DH has a lower set point than I do. I KNOW BIL has a low set point.

    I feel very fortunate that I am happy most of the time. Some of it is my own responsibility for my attitude, but I truly think I was lucky enough to be born with the beachball.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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