A Happiness Hack for Feeling Better in the Moment

A Happiness Hack for Feeling Better in the Moment

via Psychology Today by Susan Krauss Whitbourne

During periods of extreme life stress, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be nice to find a new source of happiness. The media covers all the bad news from around the world, but even the daily reports include coverage of morale-boosting stories ranging from the heroism of health care workers to community efforts to spread cheer in forms such as “birthday parades.” You’ve probably already been able to stream live broadcasts from the arts, whether in the form of “Zoom concerts” or free releases of plays, musicals, and movies.

These boosts can perk you up and give you a chance to escape from the day-to-day difficulties that you are currently experiencing. However, are there steps you can take on your own to prop up your mood?

According to a new study by Zarah Rowland and colleagues (2020) of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, you may be able to instill your own influx of good feelings through a dose of momentary mindfulness. Rather than view mindfulness as a trait or ability that some people have and some people don’t, the German researchers propose that you can turn your mindfulness on at will. In what they define as “momentary mindfulness,” you can take advantage of this happiness hack by becoming more accepting of your negative feelings and allowing them, in the process, to dissipate.

As Rowland et al. point out, based on previous research, people who are good at being mindful have less negative affect, are less likely to ruminate when things go wrong, better at regulating their emotions, and just plain feel better. The authors cite the Monitor and Acceptance Theory (MAT) as potentially responsible for these beneficial outcomes. According to MAT, “monitoring one’s current sensations increases affective responses toward affect relevant stimuli. However, if these observed affective experiences were also accepted, this could help to reduce affective responses by noticing present feelings and letting them pass by” (p. 437).

In other words, even if those relevant stimuli produce negative emotions (such as media coverage of the pandemic), you can avoid being thrown into despondency by noticing the bad feelings you’re experiencing and then just letting them go…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE