The Connection Between Doing Stuff And Happiness
It is in our DNA to have a need to take action and get things done. It only makes sense, doesn’t it? Our survival as a society depends on the actions of lots of different people. We each do our part and everything runs smoothly. It only makes sense then that we have an internal mechanism hard wired into our brain that rewards us for getting things done.
I’m sure you’ve seen this in action in your own life. You feel proud, accomplished, and happy when you wrap up a big work project, or finish re-organizing your closet. It’s a great feeling and it’s what drives us to get things done on a regular basis. It’s motivation to get to work and take action.
On the other hand, when we don’t have anything meaningful to do and we don’t feel like we’re contributing, we get depressed. People who don’t have a fulfilling job, or feel like the work they do is useless, are much more likely to feel down, tired, sad, and depressed.
The best way to turn that around is to find something, anything we can do to make us feel productive. If we feel like we’re contributing to others, having a positive impact on their lives, all the better. Give it a try. The next time you feel down, force yourself to do one little productive thing. Go clean the bathroom, organize your kitchen drawers, or do a load of laundry. Then use the accomplishment from that to motivate yourself to get something else done. Keep building on it, and before you know it you’ll notice your mood changing and you feeling happier.
If you want to supercharge this experience, go out and do something productive that helps others. Go work at a food pantry for a couple of hours, church or help out at your local animal shelter. Offer to babysit for a friend with little kids who hasn’t gotten out all week. Do something that benefits someone else and you’ll feel even better than before.
What if you made it a goal to work at a job, or build a business that helps fuel this feeling of contributing and giving back. Wouldn’t it be great if the hours you spend earning a living each week, also contribute to your overall happiness and a feeling of fulfillment? What can you do this week or this month to work towards this goal? That’s where you want to start and in the meantime, keep volunteering, keep taking action, and do things that make you feel happy and accomplished.
Roy A Ackerman, PHD, EA –
You are right I also enjoy the down time. We all need it at some point. Even in the rest though I find I plant seeds many times in my creativity and then those many times affect future days.
Lily Leung –
A little step can turn into a huge one!
On the other hand, I was really looking forward to doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING this pasts Saturday. And, when I lit the Havdala candle to bid Saturday goodbye, I realized how much that respite provided me.
SO, it’s not always doing something- sometimes you just need to vegetate!
Great post, Cindy. Good advice. I always feel better if I can do any one thing. Even if it is just stepping outside.