The evidence shows that we get more “happiness” and more long-term benefit from the anticipation of a holiday than the holiday itself*.  So if you want to be happier and more energised, make sure you have a holiday coming up to look forward to.

I’m not suggesting holidays are the answer to everything, but this is an interesting example of how little we understand about what actually makes us happy and what energizes us to be able to get more done.


The One Minute version of the neuroscience behind happiness!

DOSE (Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, Endorphins)

Dopamine is involved more with anticipation than the actual “happiness” feeling. It is sometimes referred to as the striving neurochemical.

Oxytocin helps us to become sociable. It helps us to feel empathy, allowing us to collaborate and understand others better.

Serotonin governs whether you are in a good or a bad mood. Interestingly, 80% of serotonin exists in the gut, and is significantly governed by your state of hunger.


This might explain those Israeli Judges – click on this link for more details!


Endorphins are responsible for masking pain or discomfort.  Endorphins are energising, helping you to keep going when you are tired.


Need to do less?  Click here to consider the 4Ds of Time Management

Click here to think through how to Delegate More Effectively


But aside from helping you to sound a bit more knowledgeable, why might this be useful?


What can we do with this?

Well, it highlights how complicated motivation (and being energised) is.  Game makers make exceptionally good use of this – there is always something exciting around the corner.  So, lets take a leaf out of their book.  How often do we start the day or the week, by taking a moment to think about the things that we are going to enjoy that day? (Or at least achieve or learn from) Let’s get some Dopamine going.

What about enjoying the successes we have? Maximise your Serotonin.  Do we do this enough?  Actively search out friendly conversations for the Oxytocin and build in work which is a Stretch to put yourself under a bit of goldilocks pressure (not too much, not too little) to generate some Endorphins.

OK, so that’s a little simplistic, but awareness of the different components of happiness might just nudge you towards a happier neurochemical environment and give you that extra bit of energy and motivation to get one more thing done.



* I first saw this in a 2010 piece of research detailed below, but there are a number of similar findings.  (Applied Research in Quality of Life, March 2010, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 35 – 47 Jeroen Nawijn,, Miquelle A. Marchand, Ruut Veenhoven, Ad J. Vingerhoets)