Here’s what brain research* says will make you happy:

1. Ask, “What am I grateful for?” No answers? Doesn’t matter. Just searching helps.
2. Label those negative emotions. Give it a name, and your brain isn’t so bothered by it.
3. Decide. Go for “good enough” instead of “best decision ever made on Earth.”
4. Hugs, hugs, hugs. Don’t text — touch.

*(This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

I really like point No. 2., Label those negative emotions. My observation is that those who can recognize and acknowledge that they are sad, angry or scared are more comfortable with themselves than those who see such “negative” emotions as, well, negative, bad, or wrong.

When the weather’s bad, it’s okay to say that it’s raining, or windy, or cloudy. Admitting such weather conditions allows us to dress and drive appropriately. Wouldn’t it be weird to insist that it’s sunny, lovely and balmy of those days?

The other day, I was sad and angry. No, wait, that was today. No, maybe it was both days.  Okay, fine, this week I felt sad and angry a lot.

When I slogged onward I remained somewhat uptight and burdened.  But, each time that I slowed and stopped long enough to simply acknowledge those not-so-fun emotions I relaxed and regained a nice fresh dose of peace.

So, I am encouraged that a brain-science article backs up my own experience! Now, I will be even happier that I am feeling happy, when I acknowledge that I feel sad!

Please Reply! Your brain will thank you.