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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Happiness Hacks

That podcast I mentioned last week when I talked about happy music also discussed happiness hacks. Things you do to make yourself happier. They were in front of a live audience when this podcast was recorded, so they had people line up to share their hacks. Some were quite simple like one woman had a basket downstairs and one upstairs. When things that belonged on one floor were found on the other, she'd put it in the basket and bring the upstairs basket down and the downstairs basket up.

CNN also had an article about happiness hacks. The article mentions practicing kindness, keeping a gratitude journal, and embracing failure among other things.

This all got me thinking about happiness hacks. The audience members who spoke at the podcast mostly focused on things I'd consider tips for making life a little easier. Like the basket idea. Is that the answer? Simplifying daily chores/activities?

Or is the CNN article more on point? This talks about things you can do to make yourself happy. Meditating, helping others, smiling, going outside, and so on.

This is what I think, and of course, your mileage may vary. I believe that things can not make you happy. Oh, they might lift mood for a short period of time, but it always takes more and bigger things to maintain that endorphin high. I believe that happiness has to come from within.

Before I published, I did a lot of thinking about myself and my life and what I was doing with it. I started to make changes on the things I didn't like. This wasn't a quick fix. Habits that I'd had for years took a long time to break. Some things I still battle to this day--like my need to be perfect. I understand in my head that perfection is impossible.

The example I use on myself is what if someone thinks short hair is perfect and another person thinks long hair is perfect. I can't be perfect for both people, and if I try to split the difference with medium length hair, I'm not perfect in either person's eyes.

Yeah. Despite understanding this, I still strive for perfection and cause myself huge amounts of stress.

But I've succeeded in other areas. I used to never be able to say no and found myself roped into things I had zero desire to do or zero time to do. This added to my stress level too. I did learn to say no and I did learn to stick to it even with huge amounts of pressure put on me by other people. Like when I had a deadline for a book and someone wanted me to go to a baseball game. I got huge pressure to blow off the writing and go, but I couldn't. I knew I was going to be tight on my deadline and I couldn't take that night off. I stayed home and I met my deadline.

I need to think about this happiness hack thing some more to see if there are other things I can do just on a day-to-day basis to make life easier. Time to do some more mulling.