Adam Gubernath

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Four Rituals That Will Make You Happy

When it comes to advice about being happy, what works for some generally doesn’t work for others. It’s pretty subjective stuff, right? Well, here's some advice that’s actually backed by science.

Alex Korb, a UCLA researcher of neuroscience, has some insights that can create an upward spiral of happiness in your life. Here are four rituals (backed by SCIENCE) that will make you happy:

  • Ask Yourself "What am I grateful for?":  Yeah, gratitude is awesome… but does it really affect your brain at the biological level? Yup.  You know what the antidepressant Wellbutrin does? Boosts the neurotransmitter dopamine. So does gratitude.
  • Label Negative Feelings:  You feel awful. Okay, give that awfulness a name. Sad? Anxious? Angry?  Boom. It’s that simple. Sound stupid? Your noggin disagrees.
  • Make That Decision:  Ever make a decision and then your brain finally feels at rest? That’s no random occurrence. Brain science shows that making decisions reduces worry and anxiety — as well as helping you solve problems.
  • Touch People:  No, not indiscriminately; that can get you in a lot of trouble. But we need to feel love and acceptance from others. When we don’t it’s painful. And I don’t mean “awkward” or “disappointing.” I mean actually painful.


  • Ask “What am I grateful for?” No answers? Doesn’t matter. Just searching helps.
  • Label those negative emotions. Give it a name and your brain isn’t so bothered by it.
  • Go for “good enough” instead of “best decision ever made on Earth.”
  • Hugs, hugs, hugs. Don’t text — touch.

Korb reminds us that everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision making. Decision making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. 

Source: The Ladders

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