Happiness is a habit: 10 hacks

Your brain is a muscle. It can be trained. They say it takes 14 days to form a habit. Try taking these tips one at a time…and if one is too hard, don’t worry. Try another one!

1. Protect your emotional well being with the big three: quality sleep, lots of water and slow, deep breathing.

2. Talk less. You don’t need to explain yourself as much as you think.

3. Stay in touch with family and friends and keep them in the loop of your life events. But first, ask them how they are doing. Relationships are a two way street.

4. Check your food and mood connection. Sugar, caffeine, alcohol and carbs have been linked to mood problems.

5. Get rid of unnecessary clothes, furniture and anything that may take up precious mental and physical real estate. Clutter has been linked to anxiety.

6. Self care. Make your first priority taking care of yourself. Take regular breaks at work. Say no. Allow yourself time every day to relax doing something you enjoy. Take vitamins. Laugh.

7. Keep your phone charged. Designate a place to put your keys and other essentials every day. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready and plenty of time to get to where you need to go.

8. Pause two beats to react to someone who’s getting on your nerves. If your child misbehaves and you’re angry, it’s ok to say you’ll give them their consequences tomorrow.

9. Steer clear of jerks, negative people and people who drain your energy. Especially at work. If you’re known as “that person’s” friend, it could hurt your career.

10. Let there be light. We each need sunlight or a “happy lamp” on our skin every day. Here is a reasonably priced Happy Lamp from Amazon. It won’t harm your skin.

Maybe you have some happiness hacks of your own. Let me know in the comments!

What the heck is dopamine fasting?

The idea of fasting in any way is totally unappealing to me. So…you’re going to drink only juice, and it’s not even the good kind of juice, it got spinach in it….and you’re not doing this to lose weight?

Fasting is defined as the willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time.

The Moody Mom definition: You’re giving something up, something important, in an act of self discipline, in order to achieve something that will be beneficial to you in a significant way, be it nutritional, religious, medical or spiritual.

Dopamine is a brain chemical which produces positive feelings like joy, happiness, elation, satisfaction. Why in the world would you want to give that up?

You can read what a dopamine fast entails here. Basically, you refrain from anything that produces dopamine. No electronics, no sex, no talking to others, no food… for 24 hours. I wouldn’t last 10 minutes!

So why do this? Some say that people living in modern society today are addicted to dopamine. And by doing the fast, you can regain mental clarity. You can “hit the reset button” on your brain. People who’ve done it claim that it made such a significant positive impact, it may have even cured them from a mental illness.

Would you do it? Could you go 24 hours without dopamine?

Do you avoid confrontation?

I loathe confrontation. It triggers my anxiety. To me, a confrontation is a potential fight. I’d rather pull out my own teeth than fight.

Plus I have the tendency to burst into tears during a fight. I can completely lose my shit.

But to avoid something important will only make things worse. Here are some helpful tips.

Confrontation 101: a Shrink’s Perspective

So what works for depression?

I get asked this a lot. I have some hacks that you may have heard before but, maybe not. These are what work for me anyway…

  • Light- science has proven that light, especially sunlight, boosts your mood. For me, it energizes and makes me feel healthy. They make “happy lights” for indoors too.
  • Sleep- get plenty of quality sleep. 7-9 hours. But don’t stay in bed all day. That can make you feel worse.
  • Laugh- the act of laughter releases dopamine to your brain, making you feel better. I like to watch stand up comedy!
  • Exercise- now this is really effective. If you can muster up enough energy and motivation, go outside and walk briskly. Good for body & mind!
  • Eat healthy- fresh whole foods with nutrients make you feel better all over. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugar.
  • Mindfulness- google this. Or look at my previous post which features the mindfulness site which guides you through this.
  • Help someone- this will make you feel so good! It could be something small like buying a strangers coffee. Or call a friend or relative and talk only about them. Do not mention your mood. You can really help someone just by being there.
Yoga works!