The biggest mistake people make is to think that happiness exists in the future.
I have made this mistake many times, for example, I’ve thought:
I just need to finish my studies and then I’ll be free.
If I just get to [insert holiday location], I’ll relax and will read [insert book that’s collecting dust on bedside table].
These assumptions about the future are a fallacy for two reasons:
- Happiness is not something you reach because of a change of circumstances.
Sure, circumstances can help, but really happiness comes from a multitude of helpful behaviours.
- Happiness is now, not in the past or future.
Life is full of stressors and pain, and true happiness is goodness interweaved with the bad.
The future doesn’t guarantee a stress or pain-free oasis, as you can’t control life.
In sum, NOW is the time to be happy.
At this point, you may be scratching your head, wondering what exactly happiness is and what you should be aiming for.
I address this exact question and clear up this grey area in previous blog post “how happy should you be?”.
Now let’s talk about how to create “happiness spikes” in your day.
Happiness spikes are “mini highs” that come instantly from engaging in something stimulating.
They tend to accelerate mood quickly upwards, they are not the answer to happiness, but they are part of the formula and give us a natural buzz.
How to Create Happiness Spikes
Creating happiness spikes comes out of the small things.
You don’t need to practise tasks or master skills, so creating happiness spikes is low pressure and an easy win.
Here are my favourite ways to create happiness spikes:
- Chat to someone, anyone
Small interactions with people create “micro connections”. Micro connections create a “buzz” in mood and create a ripple effect to perpetuating more happiness.
Chatting to someone can be as small as chatting to a cafe barrister or someone walking by.
- Acts of kindness
Doing something nice is incredibly rejuvenating and it’s been proven by research to contribute to happiness.
Acts of kindness can be small gestures of care, generosity or going out of your way to do something nice for someone.
- Spend time appreciating loved ones
Often times if we’re comfortable in our relationships, we forget to appreciate them.
Taking a moment to appreciate a loved one gives you all the happy feelings: Love, warmth, connection and gratitude.
- Listen to music
Listening to happy music has been proven to boost mood¹.
It’s ironic, as you’re least likely to listen to positive music if you’re feeling low in mood. But listening to music is like switching on a light in the brain and happy hormones begin to flow.
- Do something different
This small life hack to happiness is perhaps the most challenging to implement.
It requires us to step outside our usual habits and routines entrenched in our lives.
However, if you can spend a moment to do something different – drive a different way to work, grab a coffee from a new cafe, do a different form of exercise, wear something out of the ordinary – you feel invigorated and energised!
This may sound obvious, but laughing is the best way to boost your mood.
There are many ways to laugh, including:
- Noticing humour in people or situations that are ironic or excessive.
- Watching comedy or light TV.
- Hanging around with people who like to laugh.
- Telling a funny story.
- Teasing a loved one in an affectionate way about something quirky.
How can Peaceful Mind Psychology help improve your mood?
Our Melbourne-based psychologists are trained in therapies and techniques that have been proven by research to improve mood.
We work with clients who have many objectives, including establishing self care and improved confidence, gaining a positive mindset, engaging in depression treatment, improving wellbeing in relationships and reducing overall life stress.
Contact us today if you’d like to be professionally matched to a psychologist who suits your needs.