Book Recommendation: The Happiness Hack

           The Happiness Hack by Ellen Petry Leanse

I love skiing and two winters ago I decided to ski without my phone. You may think that it was no big deal, or you may think I was crazy. Well, at first it was a really big deal for me. I wasn’t physically twitching but close enough. The pain of not knowing what was going on in my virtual world was almost physical, until it was not. As with all addictions you just have to learn, and know, that the feeling and craving that is so intensely eating away at you, will eventually go away even if you just let it be. For sure. And it did. I never ski with my phone anymore, and I love it!

In the Happiness Hack, Ellen describes our addiction to electronics and what the constant distractions do to our brains. She discusses dopamine and serotonin. Which brain chemical do we want more of to feel happy? Where the quick fixes of “likes” and alike make us “happy” for a moment until we crave the next one, focus on doing what feels meaningful and completing these things without letting ourselves get distracted requires training and discipline, but proves to pay off. The Happiness Hack teaches us how to observe what we are thinking and to create a breathing space before making decisions. It covers parts of the brain and their functions in a very comprehensible way, and goes on to describe the satisfaction we feel from taking charge of what our minds are doing, vs. having our minds direct us. Breaking patterns that our brains have created for us and building new pathways is possible!

I highly recommend this book to all parents with teen agers. Just leave the book laying around. It is so inviting with it’s yellow cover, it’s colorful and fun pictures, and great quotes, that your kid will simply “have to” flip through it and read parts of it.  It drew me in and it didn’t let me put it down until I finished it. Even normal distractions as the buzzing from my phone didn’t make me want to look up. That doesn’t happen often.

I would also like to recommend it to people who think their electronics might be dictating what they should be doing, and to people who feel lonely or feel like life has lost meaning.

It’s such an important and interesting topic to learn about and to discuss. Finding happiness, reducing loneliness, and addressing depression and feelings of not being or doing enough is possible. It doesn’t come for free, you have to work for it, and the Happiness Hack gives you a good idea of where to begin.   Thank you Ellen!

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