Happiness Hacks

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Happiness Hacks

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:43 pm

I'm sort of a "pop neuroscience" junkie, and through my studying of why the brain does what it does, I've stumbled across some interesting "brain hacks" that help me to be happier or more content with my life. It struck me that other people probably have their brain hacks, too, and we should share them with each other!

Hack 1: I try, a few times during the day, to stop and reflect on what I'm feeling, particularly when something good happens, even if it's a little something good. We often let good or neutral moods pass without turning them over in our minds consciously, which means we forget about them in looking at the big picture. So today, for instance, I took a minute during my pre-work cuddle with my son to think, "I am really content right now. He is warm and soft, and he is happy to be here because he loves me and I love him." A few hours later, in the office, I thought, "The work I was doing today was really challenging and difficult, but I feel like I am making progress, and I'm proud of that. I'm feeling a bit frustrated, but determined." At other points, I might stop to reflect on an off-hand compliment, or about how I'm glad I snagged the last cannoli in the lunchroom. Then when I go home at the end of the day, I remember the irritation at a coworker and the traffic problems and my feeling of total stupidity when I overlooked the obvious for 2 hours, but I also remember the good points.

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Re: Happiness Hacks

Post by BasedBuzzed on Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:15 pm

Disappointed that this is not a thread making fun of bogus self-help gurus.

Anyway, that's my hack: try to read puns into everything.

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Re: Happiness Hacks

Post by Mel on Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:20 pm

I like your idea, ElizaJane! I've been trying to take note of the good times in the moment more too.

I've also started a gratitude journal, trying to write down one thing each day that I'm grateful for in my life. I haven't been completely consistent so far (missing days here and there) and I'm not sure I've noticed a significant effect, but it's supposed to help give a more positive outlook in a similar way to your strategy. I also figure if I'm having a really down day I can read back over the entries. Smile
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Re: Happiness Hacks

Post by Caffeinated on Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:34 pm

A happiness hack I use is a little more of a hack to beat back unhappiness. When I find that everything is wrong and I'm just really grouchy and angry at the world, I pause for a minute and figure out what I'm avoiding. If there's a stack of mail I haven't opened, or a work project I've been putting off, or a mess in the kitchen that I keep hoping will just clean itself, or whatever, the act of avoiding it creates pressure inside me. The more the pressure builds up, the unhappier I feel, and the more I look for escapism (internet or games mainly). But escapism only works for so long before everything starts to feel dull and grey. So when I face whatever I've been avoiding and then go and actually work on doing that thing, it eases the pressure off and I start feeling happier again.
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Re: Happiness Hacks

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:58 pm

I like that one, Caffeinated!

A similar thing that I do sometimes is that when I feel like things are piling up and I'm working towards distant, frustrating goals, I give myself a task with a definite, finite ending place, which takes time and energy but which has a real, tangible payoff at the end. Examples are: declutter the kitchen counter, bake a complicated dessert, make a pair of earrings to wear tomorrow, mop the bathroom floor.

Sometimes, the fact that so much of what we do is open-ended makes it hard to recognize accomplishments, so taking time to do some things that are legitimately over when they're over is nice.

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Re: Happiness Hacks

Post by Hae on Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:56 pm

When my sadness cycles and the worst of it passes, as soon as I have some energy again, I gulp down iced espresso and do something that will have the most visible impact instantly. If it's a family problem, I text my friend, who is glued to her phone 24/7, about my situation. If my creativity is dry, I re-decorate my fish tank to make me feel like i'm accomplishing something. Also they're amusing when their territories are all messed up. If it's anxiety from an unknown source, I make the bed to make my room instantly neater, then find a legit excuse to leave the house for a while.

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