I came across the term 'Happiness Hacks' recently listening to Naval Ravikant on the Tim Ferriss podcast. Sustained joy I believe is something much deeper and fundamental, and happiness isn't always an option in the face of genuine pain, but it does seem that there is often a choice to be made. I can walk down the street with head bowed, annoyed that didn't wear a warmer coat or wishing I had more money to spend. Or I can make a choice, shift my thoughts and attitude, and feel at least a little happier.
Here are a few quick hacks:
Lift your face to the sun - I love the immediate simplicity of this and the next one. Feeling the warmth of the sun is a simple pleasure, and just lifting your head is a positive motion anyway.
Take a deep breath - If the sun is hidden, another simple choice that seems to bring a sense of calm.
Gratitude - Most of us have so much to be grateful for, we just forget it most of the time and allow ourselves to be persuaded that we need more stuff.
Music - I'm often amazed at how much a few good tunes can lift my mood.
There are many more of course, although many I'd call lifestyle choices rather than hacks, such as a good amount of sleep, prayer/meditation, good diet and exercise.
Don't worry, this is still a photography blog. The same ideas absolutely apply when we're photographing. We can get frustrated at a missed shot or the camera responding slower than we'd like or the weather not being what we'd hoped for. We can look for something to blame, or we can take a breath, engage more deeply in the process, slow down and work with the camera rather than fighting it, feel part of the surroundings rather than an observer, and make the most of the whatever the conditions.
I don't know if I always take better photos when I'm happier. But I do have a more enjoyable time doing it and that's often as important to me as the end result.