I was embarrassed!
Patients who had just been released from the hospital’s psychiatric unit caught me red-handed. I was leading a group therapy session about how important it is to focus on the positive – what they wanted instead of what they did not want. I went on and on explaining that when we think negatively the neo-cortex part of our brains triggers neuro-chemical emotions which correspond to those thoughts.
I smoothly segwayed into explaining the many symptoms of depression. The patients had been listening, and stopped me by not so diplomatically pointing out I was focusing on the negative. Lesson learned! MY lesson learned.
The group decided that instead of learning symptoms of depression, they would create a list of symptoms of happiness. Here’s their list:
Symptoms of Happiness
- Feeling good (or at least “decent”) most of the day, for two weeks or more.
- Eating an appropriate amount of food with good appetite.
- Sleeping well and awakening refreshed.
- Taking pleasure in most everyday activities and enjoying fun activities.
- Having a good energy level most of the day, every day, for two weeks or more.
- Having thoughts of fun or good times to come.
- Being able to concentrate on the activity on hand.
- Thinking that one’s life matters.
- Able to exercise three times a week for half an hour, or more.
- Socialize in person or on the phone with 5 to 7 people each week. (FaceTime and zoom count too)
- Laugh or at least smile every day.
Tell us what your happiness “symptoms” are.