Do This Simple (And Free) Thing For A Quick Hit of Happiness

 Remember the eclipse? That was neat.

Remember the eclipse? That was neat.

This week's "Happiness Hack" is literally all around, above, and below you.

Remember earlier this week when the moon moved in front of the sun, and for a couple of minutes we were all able to forget about how the world is going to shit? That was cool.

Maybe you already knew it was going to be cool, but I was among that grumpy contingent that was all, “Let me get this straight: We’re going to buy special goggles so we can look at a thing we never really look at anyway, because it’s going to be covered up by another thing?” 

But as it turns out, space and the infinite beyond is pretty awe-inspiring. And if you felt a little (or a lot) elated after gazing up at this cosmic wonder, there’s a reason for that.

As psychologist Dr. Ryan D. Niemiec notes for Psychology Today an “appreciation of beauty” is one of the 24 character strengths of the "Values in Action Inventory Strengths," a psychological assessment tool developed by researchers in the early 2000s.

“Awe is the emotion most at play with the solar eclipse. This means when people look up at the sky they feel a sense of wonder and connection with something larger than themselves,” Niemiec says.

Studies have shown that this "appreciation of beauty" can boost happiness and even lower depression in the short term. 

 This turtle is embracing the awe.

This turtle is embracing the awe.

If you’re wondering when you'll next able to get a hit of that sweet eclipse euphoria, it's not rolling through until April 8, 2024. But the nice thing about space is that it is quite large, and it visits quite a lot of stuff on us earthlings.

Check out this meteor shower calendar to find out when and where you can stack the deck with all the shooting stars.

Even better news? You don’t even have to wait for a meteor shower! Beauty is, in fact, all around us. (Sorry, did my all-natural patchouli deodorant just waft through your smartphone screen just now?)

Seriously. Go on a hike. Take yourself to a place with many flowers (or a super bloom!) Watch the sun rise and the sun set. It sounds cheesy, but when the ugliness of the world is threatening to overwhelm, try looking at a goddamn peony for a couple minutes—but like, really look at it.

Do whatever fills you with that special sense of ~awe~ because right behind that wonderment comes a little, research-backed dose of happiness, and who couldn’t use more of that?

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Words: Deena Drewis
Photo: Daria Kobayashi Ritch