Everyone has something they do at the end of the day to relax.
For me, it's taking my pants off. Some people walk their dogs, some (insane) people watch the news and some people listen to podcasts.
What do all these things have in common? They all make some attempt to turn off your brain after a long day of work.
Apparently, though, if your overall goal is to be happy, the best thing to do is to engage your brain more.
The right side of it, anyway.
The right side of your brain governs creativity, holistic thinking, intuition and imagination, and according to a new study in the Journal of Positive Psychology, engaging the right side of your brain in a creative pursuit on the daily will lead to increased happiness.
The study recruited 658 volunteers and found that people who engaged in a creative pursuit felt significantly more engaged, enthusiastic and just generally more excited to be alive the next day.
The researchers concluded the results suggested finding a way to encourage yourself to do everyday creative activities would have a direct effect on your overall happiness.
This doesn't mean you have to try to be the next Mozart or even give up your favorite after-work activity.
All it means is the next time you are listening to your favorite podcast, you grab a notebook and a pen and journal your responses, or you get an adult coloring book to doodle in while you listen.
As long as you're being creative, the bar for those pursuits can remain as low as you want it to.
It's not about the result; it's about the everyday maintenance of your quality of life.
Not to mention, as someone who works in a creative field, the less you focus on the results of your creative efforts, the better the results will be.