The pursuit of happiness is a lifelong journey, and on this journey, we’re always looking for new ways to boost our joy and contentment. In the latest episode of the Extraordinary Every Day Podcast, we explore the four rituals that can enhance happiness. These rituals are drawn from the insightful book, The Upward Spiral by UCLA Neuroscience researcher Alex Korb.
The first ritual is gratitude, a simple act of recognizing and appreciating the good in our lives plays a crucial role in combatting negativity.
By consciously focusing on the positive aspects of our lives, we increase the production in the anterior cingulate cortex, a part of the brain associated with positive emotions. Gratitude has a profound impact on our emotional well-being, boosting neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, akin to the effect of antidepressants.
The second ritual is the act of decision-making.
The act of deciding gives a sense of control, reducing worry and anxiety. Neuroscience suggests that making a “good enough” decision, instead of striving for the best decision, reduces stress and boosts pleasure. Setting intentions and goals is part of the decision-making process, contributing to feelings of control and satisfaction
The third ritual is labeling and recognizing our negative emotions can significantly reduce their impact.
Emotions are a part of human life. However, this conscious act of naming our feelings helps to activate the prefrontal cortex, thus reducing the arousal in the limbic system, which is responsible for emotional responses.
The final ritual is centered on the power of human touch.
This simple act boosts sensations of love and acceptance while diminishing feelings of pain. Our discussion debunked the myth that digital interactions can replace physical contact. Physical contact, such as a simple handshake or hug, can release oxytocin, reducing pain and amplifying happiness.
These rituals are not just theoretical; they have practical implications that can be incorporated into our daily lives. From practicing gratitude, making decisions, and labeling emotions, to valuing human connection, these are practices everybody can adopt. And the impact is not minor.
These rituals have the power to significantly supercharge your everyday happiness.
As we conclude, it’s important to remember achieving happiness is not a one-size-fits-all journey. Some people might find different rituals more effective, and that’s okay. The important thing is to keep exploring, practicing, and spiraling upward toward greater happiness.