Hacking Happy

When people say, “choose happiness,” it sounds like an unrealistic task. You can’t just decide to be happy and then magically feel rainbows in your heart. However, there is science behind eliciting happy emotions in order to become a happy person. What makes you smile? Do that, and in time you might find yourself feeling happier in general. This is called “Behavior Activation.” When we are in a negative headspace, we tend to self-punish and convince ourselves that we don’t deserve to do things that we enjoy. When we are depressed, we tend to lack motivation to do things we once had interest in. 

If we force ourselves to engage in things that we like, we end up being in “the mood” again (sound familiar with sexual libido?). Here’s a task: write a long list of situations that elicits good feelings. Try to engage in or expose yourself to at least one of those each day with the purpose of feeling happy. Even if it is looking at pictures, you might be pleasantly surprised with how it makes you feel! Here’s a sample list for ideas:

  • Watching animal videos on YouTube
  • Manicures
  • Flowers
  • Sweet treats
  • Dancing
  • Stand-up comedy
  • Talking to a friend
  • Helping others
  • Cleaning the house
  • Exercising
  • Singing/ Listening to music
  • DIY projects
  • Visiting the beach
  • Cooking
  • Getting a haircut
  • Dressing up
  • Being cozy in a soft blanket
  • Watching a movie
  • Hugs
  • Reading
  • Making a collage
  • Being around your favorite color

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