Look for the Micro-Moments of Happiness to Ward Off Depression


Content updated from previous publish date.

The big “H”— happiness—doesn’t require major life-changing events, accomplishments, or milestones. Start finding joy in the smallest things you can: hearing a bird sing outside your window, feeling the warmth of the sun on your face when you step outside, petting your dog or cat, taking that first sip of your favorite brain healthy smoothie, or cracking open a new book.

These are micro-moments of happiness.

Most of us gloss over these little things, searching instead for the big experiences. But it’s important to savor these precious times because, when your brain pays attention to them, they add up to more overall contentment and satisfaction with your life. The more micro-moments you cherish, the greater your sense of joy. And these tiny events trigger positive changes in the brain that help you combat depression, calm anxiety, and keep your cool when you get angry.

The big “H”— happiness—doesn’t require major life-changing events, accomplishments, or milestones. Start finding joy in the smallest things you can—the micro-moments of happiness. Click To Tweet


One of the quickest ways to identify the little things that make you happy is with an exercise called the 4 Circle of Happiness. Basically, you identify happiness boosters in each of the following 4 areas of your life:

  • Biological Circle: how your physical body and brain function
  • Psychological Circle: developmental issues and how you think
  • Social Circle: social support, your current life situation, and societal influences
  • Spiritual Circle: your connection to God, the planet, past and future generations, and your deepest sense of meaning and purpose

To do this exercise, take a sheet of paper, draw 4 circles, and write “Biological” in one of them, “Psychological” in the second one, “Social” in the third one, and “Spiritual” in the last one. Within each circle, write down the micro-moments that make you happy in that area of your life while keeping these questions in mind:

  • What brings a smile to your face?
  • What makes you feel good about life?
  • What do you value most?

When you have finished, look at how many things you have listed in each circle. Does one circle have a much shorter list? Are you out of balance in any of these areas? If so, you may be neglecting one of your circles. Be sure to look at your Four Circles of Happiness every day as a way to remind yourself about the things that bring you joy. Focusing on doing what you love to do is a surefire way to make you happier.


Here are some examples of micro-moments of happiness in each of the 4 Circles:

Biological Micro-Moments:

  • Your first bite of a delicious salmon dinner
  • Feeling the cool sheets when you get in bed at night
  • Your morning ritual to prepare for the day
  • Trying a new fitness class at the gym
  • A beautiful morning hike with your partner
  • That moment when you slip into a warm bath and stress melts away
  • That first sip of chamomile tea as you wind down in the evening
  • Taking a walk with your lovable dog
  • Feeling snug and secure in a blanket on your couch
  • Feeling the warmth of a fireplace

Psychological Micro-Moments:

  • Feeling productive
  • Correcting negative thinking patterns
  • Hearing a happy song you love come on the radio
  • Learning something new
  • Spending time reading a great book
  • Listening to a great audiobook
  • Checking something off your to-do list
  • Watching the sunset after a successful day
  • Happy memories
  • Finishing the day’s Wordle in just two attempts

Social Micro-Moments:

  • When your spouse rubs your shoulders
  • Having FaceTime or Zoom to stay connected with family and friends who live far away
  • Receiving a last-minute text invite to a party (even if it’s on Zoom)
  • Making plans with friends
  • Looking into your significant other’s eyes and feeling a connection
  • That feeling you get when someone smiles because of something you did for them
  • Hugs with your dearest friends
  • Playing a round of golf with your pals
  • Hosting your book club group at your home
  • Feeling a spark when you meet someone from an online dating app

Spiritual Micro-Moments:

  • Having 20 minutes to yourself with a calming meditation
  • Saying a prayer before bedtime
  • Making a difference in the lives of others
  • Caring for the planet (recycling)
  • Being connected to the past (thinking about loved ones who have passed away)
  • Being connected to the future (thinking about grandkids or your legacy)
  • Doing work that matters
  • Attending religious services
  • Feeling close to God
  • Feeling purposeful


If you want to increase your happiness level, make it a point to search out the micro-moments that bring you joy. The more you notice the things that make you smile, the happier you will feel. This simple strategy can be so helpful if you’re struggling with low moods, anxiousness, irritability, anger, or other issues.

Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.


  1. Is there any recommendations in the Houston area for treatments / brain scans etc.

    Comment by Sharon — January 17, 2022 @ 6:49 AM

  2. Hello Sharon, thank you for reaching out. While we do not have a clinic in the Houston area as of now, we do have 9 clinics across the US, including one in the Dallas Metro area: https://amenclinics.com/locations/dallas-metro-area/

    Comment by Amen Clinics — January 17, 2022 @ 9:14 AM

  3. Is there any help for an old person with depression who is on a fixed low income budget?

    Comment by Linda — January 19, 2022 @ 3:16 AM

  4. So, how much is the book?? I’m very cautious and suspicious on offers that do not tell you the price until you are FINISHED IN THE ORDERING PROCESS.

    Comment by Jeanne Hillman — January 19, 2022 @ 4:04 AM

  5. How difficult is it to get in for a brain scan in the Chicago? I would like myself, my husband and two teen kids to all be scanned and evaluated.thank you

    Comment by Heather Piceu — January 19, 2022 @ 4:54 AM

  6. It sounds absolutely wonderful. My biggest struggle with all these things is following through and having accountability. But I’m willing to give it a try. I’m so excited. Thank you for sharing your wisdom

    Comment by Martha Krech — January 19, 2022 @ 6:21 AM

  7. I loved your micro moments of happiness to ward off depression examples. Thanks for inspiring me.

    Comment by Louisa Gomez — January 19, 2022 @ 6:55 AM

  8. This was so helpful– especially the examples of each “circle”. Thank you! (Looking forward to the new book.)

    Comment by Deb — January 19, 2022 @ 8:37 AM

  9. I lost my mom November 2 2021 I had her for seven and a half years no help from my family at all, dr said I had burn out I never ever heard of that , I’m recovering still , and I do feel down often when that happens I start to really cry hard and after I do that I most of the time start to feel better, is this a concern fir me or is the normal Pls let me know thank you 🙏

    Comment by Katherine walters white — January 19, 2022 @ 1:46 PM

  10. Hello Heather, thank you for reaching out. We would be happy to contact you directly with more information regarding scheduling an appointment with our Chicago clinic. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — January 19, 2022 @ 2:23 PM

  11. Hello Jeanne, thank you for reaching out. The pricing is dependent on which version of the book you order (i.e.: hardcover, kindle, etc.). Here’s a link to the book preorder on Amazon which contains some pricing: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09F842N1L/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i0

    Comment by Amen Clinics — January 19, 2022 @ 4:37 PM

  12. Hello Linda, thank you for reaching out. Amen Clinics offers consultations and different types of evaluations based on the needs of the patient. For information regarding pricing, insurance, and financing options, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — January 19, 2022 @ 4:41 PM

  13. Please help me to sleep at night have you any ideas how i can drift off

    Comment by Valerie — January 23, 2022 @ 3:56 PM

  14. Love the idea of micro moments of happiness to help with mood and enhance life’s enjoyment. But with true deep depression this can be difficult. I truly believe there is often a major chemical imbalance which needs to be addressed. I’ve seen this first hand. However, trying anything to help is very important, and may at least give one moments of simple pleasure. Thank you once again for insightful article!

    Comment by Janice — February 24, 2023 @ 8:46 AM

  15. I see people asking for brain scan, evaluations. I know Dr Phil does this first to see why you mal function. Is this even possible to get done? Tired of my depression and negative feelings. Are there clinics in Alabama??

    Comment by Wanda Shedd — February 24, 2023 @ 10:50 AM

  16. These newsletters are so helpful! Thank you, Amen clinics! God bless.

    Comment by Will — February 24, 2023 @ 11:07 AM

  17. Thank you, Dr.Amen. Just what I needed today. I am losing faith in my societal circle and need to be aware in little ways how life is better than that.

    Comment by Diane Conroy — February 24, 2023 @ 12:15 PM

  18. Hello Wanda, thank you for reaching out. For more information about SPECT scans and our services, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/. We currently have 11 locations in the U.S.: https://www.amenclinics.com/locations/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — February 28, 2023 @ 10:21 AM

  19. excellent ideas!

    Comment by Doug Morris — September 7, 2023 @ 11:08 AM



    Comment by william — November 20, 2023 @ 12:22 PM

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