Why Are We So Excited to Hack Happiness in Our Brains and So Unexcited to Just Be Happy?

I've seen this image float around my social media feeds for the past couple of months.

For the first little while, I thought it was neat. Oh! Here's how I can try to boost my various happiness hormones. What fun!

Then I became indifferent to it. Oh hey, this again.

Then I became suspicious of it.

What is happening in our world that we now have to manipulate our brains into producing happiness chemicals? What does this say about us that we need to "hack" feeling good? Why is this need so dang prevalent that it keeps getting posted and reposted and posted again on social media?

I get it. I have a list on the wall in my apartment literally titled, "Things That Feel Good" because when I am bored or feeling junky, it's hard to remember that I can do things to feel better instead of just sinking into my couch. And the list of activities in this post are actually really beneficial: get some physical activity, hug someone, do something to make yourself laugh. These "hacks" are really just actual healthy behaviour.

But that almost makes it worse: are we (myself included!) so lost that instead of realizing that we could use a laugh or a hug or a walk, we have to see it on a list of brain hacks? We have to think we're doing it to trick our brains into being happier instead of just doing things because we know they make us happier?

I may be completely overreacting here, but after seeing it passed around so many times, this post has gone from charmingly useful to tragic for me.

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