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Finding Joy in Your Life

As sunshine abounds and summertime approaches, some find it hard to contain their excitement. For others, the weight of past traumas or mental health concerns keeps a dark cloud over the natural happiness that sunny days can bring. As explained in a study published by Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications, daily experiences of feelings such as awe, gratitude, curiosity, and joy can significantly improve a person’s overall happiness. Yet the researchers found that only 20% of people are considered to be “flourishing” while the majority are at risk of spiraling downward into dangerous levels of unhappiness if they aren’t there already. 


How the Brain Experiences Happiness

According to an article in Social Research, the brain’s reward and pleasure sensors are vital for human survival. While human consciousness allows a person to experience feelings of joy, happiness, curiosity, and awe, our consciousness also makes us aware that the happy time will likely end at some point. This awareness drives people to seek out happy moments and look forward to experiences that have brought them happiness in the past. Experiences of happiness also give humans a stronger sense of their well-being.

When the brain experiences happiness, its pleasure and reward systems are stimulated. This can happen naturally through something experienced by the senses (such as sight, smell, touch, taste, or sound) or a memory of a sensory experience from the past. The pleasure and reward system can also be stimulated artificially through different substances that change chemical and hormone levels in the brain. For example, most depression medications increase a person’s serotonin levels to help them feel something besides sadness. This process has its benefits and drawbacks, especially when someone is abusing substances to feel happiness. 


The Benefits of Monitoring Well-Being

Well-being can be an effective measuring tool of your conscious perception of your happiness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), well-being is a good measure of a person’s overall health. 

Conscious perception of one’s mental health should be closely monitored, especially for people who struggle to find happiness. For many doctors and researchers, mental health is synonymous with well-being, although both terms have different implications. Mental health involves specific mental health concerns that have a catalyst and an outcome. Different aspects of well-being may include:

  • Physical well-being
  • Economic well-being
  • Social well-being
  • Emotional well-being
  • Development
  • Activity level
  • Engaging in “normal” activities like work or school
  • Life satisfaction

Monitoring all aspects of well-being gives us a broader picture of what changes we need to make. For example, if you think your emotional well-being is hindering other aspects of your life, you can talk to a mental health professional and ideally be able to see the domino effect of happiness unfold in your day-to-day life.


How To Help Your Brain Experience Joy and Well-Being

An article published in the British Medical Journal explains that there are three different types of happy lives that a person can live. 

  • A pleasant life: A person experiences a long line of pleasures that begin to lose their effect with repetition
  • A good life: A person can utilize their strengths and feel engaged in their life
  • A meaningful life: One where a person will use their strengths to service others and create something bigger than themselves. 

It has long been proven that helping others has just as many happy effects — if not more — for the helper. Finding joy can be as simple as helping another person. Finding joy can also mean trying something new, revisiting a nostalgic place or object, expanding your social life, or finding meaning in the life you get to live. 


Here are some suggestions for how to create happy and meaningful experiences: 

  • Embark on a loving relationship and communicate effectively to maintain that relationship. If the relationship is toxic or does not bring joy, it may be better to leave. Many people report newfound happiness on their own as well. 
  • Plan social interactions with family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues at work. 
  • Work hard, but not so hard that you miss out on your social life. You do not need to earn a burnout badge to work effectively. 
  • Find things to do in your spare time, like volunteering or joining a club. Again, it has been proven that helping others or building something bigger than yourself sparks feelings of happiness.
  • Pursue activities and ideas that bring you joy. If you’re not sure what those are, try new things until you find out. You may find a surprising hobby or make a connection that fills your life with joy. 


Be grateful and appreciate yourself for all that you have accomplished so far and the many strengths you have to offer the world. You are important, and your happiness is vital to your health and well-being. If you are feeling sadder than usual or struggling to find happiness without the aid of addictive substances, you may need some help to take back your life and find joy. At RECO Intensive, we understand that your mental health, well-being, and happiness are crucial to your quality of life. We want to help you feel joy again. RECO Intensive offers a treatment plan that is uniquely catered to you and your needs. Our professional staff and experienced alumni can help you through mental health crises, addiction, or any combination of the two. RECO Intensive even specifically treats depressive disorders with in-house doctors, nurses, and therapists who are available to you anytime you need them. Call RECO Intensive today at (561) 464-6533 to speak with one of our mental health professionals about your well-being.

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