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The Happiness Hack

By: Michael Blankenship |

“In about the same degree as you are helpful, you will be happy.” 

– Karl Reiland

Have you ever noticed the lift your spirit gets when you share a smile with a stranger?

Or the warm glow from a simple “thank you” after holding open a door?

While seemingly mundane, these little gestures profoundly impact our overall well-being.

These aren’t just fleeting feelings.

It’s part of a psychological network in our brain called the “sociometer.”

Social psychologist Mark Leary developed it.

Leary theorizes that human beings have a built-in gauge that measures our social acceptance and belonging.

This internal meter constantly assesses the quality of our social interactions. 

Checking for signals of acceptance or rejection.

When your sociometer detects threats—like: 



👎Or any form of negative social feedback

It can lead to feelings of low self-esteem, sadness, or even anxiety.

On the flip side, when it picks up positive signals from people around you, it elevates your mood, boosting your self-worth and overall happiness.

👉Every “hi” to your delivery driver. 

👉Every door held open.

👉Every “great work” to a colleague.

👉Every time you acknowledge another person’s presence.

👉Every smile. 

👉Every gesture, no matter how small.

Sends positive vibes to our sociometer. 

And here’s the fun part: this isn’t a one-way street. 

That barista you smiled at? 

Their day just got a bit brighter, too.

Mark Twain said it best.

“The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.” — Mark Twain.

These small gestures, coupled with the positive feedback, tell our brains and our hearts that we are accepted, valued, and appreciated. 

In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to miss these moments. 

But these micro-interactions are golden tickets to a happier life. 

They say the little things in life matter most. 

And they were right.

So, next time you see someone, even a stranger, nod, smile, acknowledge. 

It’s a happiness hack. 

And it’s contagious. 

Dive into daily doses of joy and watch the world become a happier place, one small act at a time.

This Week’s Image

This Week’s Riddle

I am taken from a mine, and shut up in a wooden case, from which I am never released, and yet I am used by almost every person. What am I?

This Week’s Journaling Prompt

Reflect on a moment in the past week where a simple gesture made your day or where you made someone else’s day with a small act of kindness. How did it impact your mood and overall feelings of self-worth? How can you incorporate more of these moments into your daily routine?

This Week’s Challenge

For this week, initiate or acknowledge at least 3 small gestures of kindness or connection. Whether it’s sharing a smile, holding a door open, offering a genuine compliment, acknowledging someone’s presence, or even leaving a positive note for a stranger. 

Challenge yourself to be both the initiator and the recipient, and watch how these micro-interactions can elevate your daily happiness.

Riddle Answer: Pencil lead (graphite).

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