Prioritize joy

Practicing what I preach with gold on gold to start 2019 off right. 💫⁣

I’m currently reading If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy by Raj Raghunathan on @audible. One of his early points is that you can increase your happiness by prioritizing it, but not by pursuing it. Prioritizing happiness means making happiness-enhancing decisions on a daily basis. Pursuing happiness would mean constantly asking yourself, “Am I happy? How about now? And now?” When we do the former, we fill our lives with the activities we know tend to make us happy. And they do. When we do the latter, we compare our current mood with our idealized perfect mood. It never measures up, making us (paradoxically) less happy than if we’d never asked in the first place.

I have often felt like I am less happy than I would like to be. But in 2018, I started more deliberately embracing the kind of activities that make me happy, and, wouldn’t you know it, I am feeling happier overall. One such category of activity is creating. My day is always better when I create something that didn’t exist before. It can be baking chocolate chip cookies or addressing and stamping a thank you note; creating anything at all enhances my happiness. For this post, I prioritized happiness not only by making it in the first place, but also by writing with a metallic pen and painting with metallic water colors, since both those activities have been especially joy-enhancing lately.⁣

What’s an activity that brings you joy that you can prioritize today?⁣
make joy a priority this year

Published by Emily P.G. Erickson

Emily P.G. Erickson is a freelance writer specializing in mental health and parenting. She has written for popular digital publications, including Everyday Health, Health, The New York Times, Parents, Romper, WIRED, and more. Emily is a professional member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) and the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ). Previously, Emily researched PTSD for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and earned a master's in psychology. You can find the latest from Emily at

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