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Wanting to be happy is a basic human desire and need. Tackling this issue can be daunting because (a) happiness can mean different things to different people and (b) a feeling can be objective. So figuring out the secret to guaranteed happiness can be like searching for the secret to the meaning of life in one sitting — It’s not going to happen.

Like any journey, the first step we did in our happiness pursuit was to break this down into realistic stepping stones which we broke down further into achievable goals. One way to stay motivated is to have continual successes and completed tasks. I can guarantee that deep soul searching is NOT going to happen until much further down the line.

Researchers show that there are many small things you can do to brighten up your day, which intern brings you instant gratification which will turn into quick bliss. Having these important moments of instant joy will start your day on the right path and put you in the correct mindset to receive happiness in your life. From there we will tackle the Goliath of a task of longevity etc but one step at a time — instant joy.

Fake it until you make it. Team TTF wholly believes in this idea in your career and in your personal life. Think happy thoughts, wear bright happy colors, and listen to happy music. We’re not saying that you should ignore all your problems and pretend that everything is ok. But you’ll be shocked by the huge difference on your overall mood these very simple changes to your environment will make.

By thinking happy thoughts you can make yourself instantly more optimistic. Wearing bright and happy colors will put a smile on your face every time you look in the mirror and will make everyone in your circle smile. (Wear ONE bright colored clothing item and sit back and wait for an avalanche of positive comments to pour in at the office) Plus listening to happy music will cheer you up on a full sensory level where it will be nearly IMPOSSIBLE to be a grouch.

Find a way to give back in a social way. Being an anonymous donor is clearly an extremely honorable act. It’s really important to want to give back without wanting anything in return. But let’s keep it real, that’s not going to add to your overall happiness. We’re not saying that you need to make sure to claim credit for every positive deed that you do or make a big show out of every donation you make, it’s important to be balanced in everything.

But studies have shown that donating money to someone you know that’s directly connected to the charity makes a much bigger impact not only to the overall cause but also bolsters your social connection with the community. Just look go on Facebook right now, there has to be at least six different donation opportunities that you can support right now. Better yet, donate your time by volunteering. Research has shown that feeling that you’re contributing to something bigger than yourself can lead to instant joy. There’s no crime in giving back to the community with a genuine smile on your face.

No more fast food. We’re not talking about the health benefits either. According to research, going often to fast food restaurants can make you an unhappy person. The entire concept of fast food revolves around not having anytime to wait, because the process of traveling, picking out your meal, ordering, waiting for your meal and even eating your meal is a hassle for people who don’t have time to eat. By skipping all of those steps, theoretically you free up more time to do the things that you actually want to do.

But repeated exposure to these types of food establishments sets a precedent that you never have anytime to wait for anything. So over time, you’ll become more and more impatient and not able to enjoy the day-to-day of your overall life. There is an entire world out there if you take the time to savor every moment.

Have a mid-afternoon snack. In addition to your mid-afternoon coffee, make sure that you also have a snack. Have you ever noticed that you’re completely unproductive and drained in the mid-afternoon? Right at the time between post-lunch and pre-packing up to go home can be a particular low point for most people.

Serotonin is a brain chemical that helps balance mood. Research shows that that around 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm is when serotonin levels are at their lowest. You can combat this by eating some greens, complex carbohydrates or dairy. They’re full of mood-boosting properties that will come in handy when your serotonin is plummeting.

Start a light hobby. Don’t start anything that will require an actual commitment. Who needs to add another thing to your instant joy to-do list? But taking up a new activity — such as baking, crafting, coloring — that will require 100% of your attention can make you more motivated and focused. Two known qualities that research has shown to promote happiness. 

The reason we love to DIY is that not only does is it highly relaxing after a long day at work, you end up with an actual item to represent embody your achievement at the end of it. Akin to binge watching an entire season on Netflix but you end up with something to show for it at the end. This time with clarity and a rested mind.

I think our entire strategy to achieving instant joy is basically — do something that makes you happy, being in a good mood will make it more likely that you’ll sustain that emotional peak throughout the day. There’s not an exact science to being happy; the concept of instant joy is really meant to simply set you up for emotional success.

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