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  • Writer's pictureKrzysztof 'Chris' Daniel

Mood Hacking

I have came across the list of things that can make you happy somewhere on Reddit. I found it really interesting, because I have been using some of those to improve my mood, as, over the years, I have noticed how disastrous staying away from the sun can be for me, and how important it is to go outside for even a short walk in a park.

Things that can make you happy
The original list

The list itself contains four happiness hormones - dopamine, oxytocin, serotonim and endorphins. I do not know which of those are more important than others, but... dopamine catched my eye because currently scientists believe that

dopamine signals the perceived motivational prominence (i.e., the desirability or aversiveness) of an outcome, which in turn propels the organism's behavior toward or away from achieving that outcome

Unfortunately, I do not like the list approach. I have a poor history of using toolbox approaches, in which you use a solution out of the list if the situation requires it. My usual approach is "I'm doing fine" until I cannot ignore the problems anymore.

So, I have decided to convert the list into a map (with small modifications), and see what is there. Here is the result:

A wardley map representing the mood hacking space
A wardley map representing the mood hacking space

One of the things that struck me is the invisible daily routine that de facto governs my baseline happiness. Plenty of things, such as getting enough of sunlight or sleeping enough, require a very robust planning process, which is in direct conflict with having play time (I just do not believe in scheduling that time, it removes at least half of fun in my eyes). I do not know how to balance it, yet.

The pleasant surprise is that now, I have a good justification for watching stupid sitcoms and memes.

How do you take care of your mood?

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