World Mental Health Day is an opportunity to reflect on our wellbeing, and how we can take better care of ourselves as we all continue to live amidst a mental health epidemic. In fact, the health and happiness of our minds has been a topic that’s always fascinated me. As the host of a mental health podcast called Everyday Endorphins, and a philosophy-neuroscience-psychology studies major in college, I’ve become increasingly interested in human behavior and the pursuit of a purposeful life.
During my senior year of college, I enrolled in a positive psychology class that discussed how to become happier. The class was taught by Professor Tim Bono and was, unsurprisingly, one of the most popular courses at my university. Throughout that semester, Dr. Bono introduced many thought-provoking ideas, but one paradox in particular resonated with me, and I find especially relevant to share when thinking about World Mental Health Day.
The irony that piqued my interest is that when we talk about mental health at large, we often place a disproportionate focus on mental illness. For example, websites like the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) repeatedly report on topics pertaining to mental illness and place a greater emphasis on mental disorders, rather than offering a perspective on ways to flourish and boost life satisfaction.
Don’t get me wrong – the very fact that mental illness statistics are a focal point of the conversation indicates how important it is to bring attention to these issues, and strengthens the call to action for raising awareness on destigmatizing mental health. However, it seems as if there is still a discrepancy in the amount of attention our society places on what’s wrong with us rather than what’s already working well.
Hence the need for the field of positive psychology – to shift our attention away from solely mental illness, and instead towards strategies for building a greater sense of wellness in our lives. I created the Everyday Endorphins podcast to hold conversations that focus on the importance of finding joy and endorphins in daily living, and over the past two years, it’s been incredible to see the variety of ways in which my guests get their daily boost of endorphins.
Here are some of the top tips I’ve gathered for generating greater happiness in life:
Research shows that the practice of gratitude and calling attention to what you’re thankful for is effective in enhancing psychological wellbeing and happiness. One of my personal favorite methods is keeping a gratitude jar. I chat more about this with celebrity fitness trainer Isaac Boots during our interview, where he shares his perspective on happiness and gratitude.
Spend quality time with friends and family
A Harvard study on adult development showed that positive relationships are the key factors that matter the most for long-lasting happiness. In my interview with Mo Gawdat, former Chief Business Officer at Google [X], we chat about the importance of building relationships, and why human connection brings him endorphins.
Get in physical activity
Exercise is probably the first thing that comes to mind when we think of endorphins. Check out my interview with Johnny Tieu, Nike Fitness trainer, to learn more about how running and fitness brings him happiness.
Engage in something creative
Focusing on creating endeavors allows our brains to release feel-good chemicals. Learn from former podcast guests, including rapper Hugh Lee, Rowing Blazers founder Jack Carlson, and GQ Magazine associate commerce director, Kyle Hodge, who speak about how creativity brings them joy.
Show some love to your furry friends
There’s a reason why therapy dogs and cats exist. Pets can offer unconditional love and provide a great source of comfort, boosting our overall wellbeing and happiness. Check out my conversation with chronic illness advocate Gigi Robinson to hear how playing with her dog, Zoey, brings her endorphins.
In honor of World Mental Health Day, I invite you to practice one of these strategies to bring greater happiness into your life, and reflect on all ways you get endorphins. If you’re looking for more tips on health and purposeful living, make sure to check out Everyday Endorphins.