What is that happy feeling that comes from scratching an itch (real or metaphorical)?
Finding little ways to incorporate joy into our days can make a big difference for our overall happiness and well-being.
Breaking up a long day with simple moments of joy and happiness can really make a difference. Take it from this bear who found the perfect tree to scratch an itch.
Here are four little ways to add a lot of joy into your day — sans romping through a forest.
1. Getting a dose of fun cuteness actually does a body good.
I mean, how can you resist the cuteness?
A 2015 study suggested there may be real benefit to watching cute cat videos — participants reported more energy and positive feelings and less negative feelings after watching them.
We think that extends to cat GIFs, as well — right?
2. Seeing things in their "perfect place" feels so satisfying.
Beyond good organization, we've all felt that odd sense of satisfaction when seeing images and GIFs of things fitting perfectly into other things. If you've experienced that feeling, you're not alone — there are even whole Tumblrs and subreddits dedicated to it.
Why the heck does it feel so good to even just look at things being where they're seemingly supposed to be?
One psychological theory discussed in an article in The Atlantic is that it might create a sense of relief in relationship to the jumble of everyday life. It's no secret we all have tons of responsibilities and pressures to deal with daily. But these simple acts of success can be deeply satisfying in the chaos of it all. Don't you agree?
3. Making others happy is infectious!
The simplest acts — holding a door open, surprising a co-worker with their favorite snack, even a hug — can come with a sense of overwhelming personal happiness.
It turns out there's a ton of science behind why it feels so plain great to be kind to others: Studies have shown there are very real physical rewards for kindness, such as reducing social anxiety, lowering blood pressure, and even recharging our gut bacteria.
Yes, your body is physically rewarding you for doing good things — no wonder it feels so great!
4. Maybe it's that satisfied feeling from your favorite snack.
Have you ever wondered why we feel that happy satisfied feeling after we eat a really satisfying meal or snack?
When it comes to being satisfied, it goes beyond just filling up your actual stomach to the "satiety signals" sent to the brain.
These satiety signals are influenced by your food — the aesthetic quality of the food as it relates to your personal tastes. The amount of delight you get from the sight, smell, texture, and so on of your meal relate to actual hormones in your body. The more "satiation power" in what you're eating, the stronger the signal of satisfaction is.
So that's why when you bite into, say, your favorite Cadbury bar, it is so very and truly satisfying.
Why not add one of these little happy activities to your list of to-dos?
It might be time to take a cue from this awesome bear and go for it!