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August Happiness Happens Month

Happiness is as essential as it is difficult to quantify. How happy are you, and how can you raise that quotient? These are some of the greatest quests in life, and now you can join the world in finding your happy place.

August is Happiness Happens Month, a designation decreed by the Society of Happy People (SOHP). The group was formed in 1998 in response to an article by Ann Landers. She argued that it was “un-cool” to boast about your contentedness because society generally frowns upon such outward displays of mirth. Au contraire, said SOHP founder Pam Johnson. The harbinger of happiness believed that expressing joy leads to further positivity, like a snowball effect of uplifting psychology.

So, how is Johnson’s mission faring two decades later? And how does it apply to your life? Let’s put on a happy face and explore these questions together…

How Happy Is Happy?

Mood swings affect everybody. Even if you’re generally an upbeat person, it’s impossible to smile when you stub your toe or catch the flu. Life happens, and your attitude is susceptible to the ebb and flow of everyday occurrences.

But happiness is what we all want, so let’s consider what it truly means to be happy.

One recent study conducted in Mexico surveyed two groups of people who defined satisfaction in two distinctly different ways: intensity vs. frequency. Think about it; if you had one incredibly good day last month, but the other 30 were nightmarish, you would chalk that up as an unhappy time. However, if your psychological state were far less volatile but above average in terms of glee, it would be a better month on the whole.

This was the finding of the aforementioned survey. Intensely happy experiences are great, but a more consistently happy demeanor is generally accepted as the foundation for a more positive existence.

That’s why the SOHP encourages their membership to find new ways to smile every day. They have specified 31 types of happiness, which conveniently enough allows you to seek out and explore a different shade of joy every day for the entire month of August. Here’s a brief checklist for you to reference if you want to capture a daily dose of delight for yourself:

  • Amused – don’t take life too seriously 
  • Blessed – take account of the good fortune in your life
  • Celebration – whether big or small, revel in your accomplishments 
  • Cheerful – summon your optimism
  • Confident – remind yourself why you’ve come this far in life
  • Content – bask in the stability of just being
  • Creative – look at the world as only you can and write/sketch/sing it out
  • Enthusiastic – focus on what you most want to accomplish and go after it full force
  • Fun – get goofy, get moving, get happy!
  • Giving – sharing with others is a surefire way to spur a sense of joy
  • Grateful – on the flipside of giving, take account of all that you have received from others’ generosity
  • Helpful – look for solutions rather than problems
  • Honorable – exemplify the morals and values you hold dearest
  • Humor – tell a joke (even to yourself) and enjoy the chuckles!
  • Inspired – take a page from your greatest role models and why they’re so important
  • Joyful – radiate positivity and engage in activities that please you
  • Kind – spread your goodwill, even if it’s just a simple smile
  • Love – express your affinity for friends, family, or a romantic partner
  • Motivated – tackle at least one goal today
  • Nostalgic – bust out the scrapbook and reminisce on good times
  • Optimistic – translate your biggest complaints into a chance to make things better
  • Peaceful – find ways to bring harmony to your world
  • Playful – embrace silliness every once in a while
  • Proud – you’ve got a lot to show for yourself!
  • Relieved – no matter how dark life may seem, it could always be worse
  • Respectful – admire those around you for their best attributes
  • Satisfaction – set a realistic goal at the start of the day and then celebrate its completion
  • Social – contact a loved one and truly connect
  • Spiritual – no matter how you define it, consider your faith today
  • Successful – take stock of where you are in life and your trajectory to further happiness
  • Valued – you make others happy… now look in the mirror and realize why

But What If I Can’t Make Myself Happy?

Checklists like the one above are a great tool to jumpstart your smile, but sometimes depression clouds every silver lining. If you find it difficult to “look on the bright side,” then you might need more than daily affirmations to guide you through your slump. 

The symptoms of depression are myriad and diverse. It has behavioral components like poor work performance and anti-social behavior; depression also entangles your emotions, making you feel hopeless and irritable; and this pervasive condition might even manifest itself physically, resulting in aches, pains, loss of sleep, and shifts in eating habits.

If you identify with any or all of the symptoms just mentioned, don’t worry; you are not alone. Over 350 million people worldwide experience some form of depression. That’s more than the entire population of the United States (by over 20 million). Their experiences are as different as their personalities, but they all deserve a happier life.

This elusive goal can be achieved in a number of ways, but none are a one-size-fits-all answer to the scourge of depression. Therapy is a wonderful way to voice your quest for happiness and shape the best strategy to achieve it. For some individuals, medication may be necessary to reconfigure the chemicals in your brain. But sometimes, these chemicals just need to be rerouted. 

That’s where Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) comes in. 

By conducting a painless pulse of electricity through a person’s gray matter, we can foster a more beneficial configuration of how the mind is supposed to circulate its bio-material. Many psychological issues stem from imbalances in brain chemistry, but instead of countering this imperfect formula with a deluge of drugs, we may be able to simply stimulate what’s already there.

TMS has proven to boost brain functionality, which in turn improves cognition and mood. This August, harness your happiness and consider the breakthrough benefits that TMS could offer you.

Article By: Chris Howard
Director of Community Outreach & Education Chris Howard has been working in the mental health field since 2010 after seeing the long-term effects of mental illness within his own family. He is a graduate of UCLA where he received his B.A. in Psychology. Having worked closely with those struggling with addiction, Chris considers the concept of community to be an essential part of treatment and advocates for wellness approaches that integrate both leading conventional therapies, as well as holistic practices like yoga and meditation.