As a rule, I don’t believe in happiness as a goal. I believe that happiness, and its sisters joy and contentment, come from having a meaningful life focused on the things that matter to you. That being said, I do know one weird trick to make your life feel happier.
Every night, as you fall asleep, reflect on what made you happy that day. Psychologically, we tend to remember an experience by its end. That’s why a disastrous day six can ruin an entire week-long vacation, or a bad hangover can retroactively ruin a great night out.
If you end each day with a review of its happiest aspects, you will remember the day as a happy day. Remembering your life as a series of happy days helps to make you a happy person.
If you’re feeling especially hacker-ish, you could track what makes you happy each day. If it’s never anything about your hobby, you may need a new hobby. If it’s never about your kids, you may need more time with them. If it’s never anything about your work, you need to stop expecting your work to make you happy.
You don’t have to do the extra credit work, though. Just lying in bed and thinking about the good parts of your day is enough.