The idea of a hedonic control system for pleasure and pain suggests that constant joy is not a realistic goal. Brickman and Campbell (1971) argued that happiness has a set point similar to fat deposition; each person has a characteristic level, and a major happiness-inducing event such as winning a lottery or getting married can result in a temporary lift for a few months, but after that, a person typically returns to their “set point” for happiness. More recent research by Lucas, Clark, Georgellis, & Diener (2003 and 2004) showed that, of negative events, only death buy steroids online of a spouse and loss of a job produced a lower level of happiness that was not erased after five years.
Are people living in harsher conditions less happy than others? The answer seems to be that sometimes they are, and sometimes they are not. For example, we found that the African Maasai are relatively happy, even though they live in dung huts without indoor plumbing buy steroids online or electricity, and the Inuit of Northern Greenland are relative satisfied with their lives despite living in a very harsh climate (Biswas-Diener, Vittersш, and Diener, 2004). However, we have found that street prostitutes, the homeless, and people in mental hospitals are unhappy, far below neutral, even when their conditions have persisted over some period of time (e.g., Biswas-Diener & Diener, 2001). Perhaps such social variables as lack of respect and lack of trusted friends make these conditions more persistently difficult than poverty. This idea can be substantiated by the fact that impoverished individuals in the slums of Calcutta, who live in shacks with their families, score in the positive zone on life satisfaction.