Simple exercises, including reliving happy moments, can make you happier in just four minutes, research finds.
‘Reliving Happy Moments’ involves choosing a personal photo that captures a happy moment and adding a few words of description to it.
This exercise gave people in the study the greatest boost in happiness.
The results come from research including over 500 people who were (or had) experienced substance abuse.
Another exercise they were given is called ‘Savouring’ and involves noting and appreciating two positive experiences from yesterday.
This was almost as powerful as reliving happy moments.
Next most useful was “Rose, Bud, Thorns” which involves listing a highlight and a challenge from yesterday and a pleasure to be appreciated tomorrow.
Dr Bettina B. Hoeppner, the study’s first author, said:
“Addiction scientists are increasingly moving beyond the traditional focus on reducing or eliminating substance use by advocating treatment protocols that encompass quality of life.
Yet orchestrated positive experiences are rarely incorporated into treatment for those with substance use disorders.”
Dr Hoeppner continued:
“These findings underscore the importance of offsetting the challenges of recovery with positive experiences.
Recovery is hard, and for the effort to be sustainable, positive experiences need to be attainable along the way.”
The study was published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment (Hoeppner et al., 2019).