Neuroscience research reveals that much of what you have been trained to believe will make you happy .

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Having more of something you love will make you happier.

Neuroscience research shows that due to something called “hedonic adaptation,” the more pleasure you get, the more you need to sustain feelings of happiness. Basically, your brain habituates to high-pleasure experiences, meaning you need even more pleasure to feel the same effect, similar to the way people need more cocaine to get the same high. This wears out the pleasure centers in the brain, which can lead to depression.

Money makes you happier.

There is some truth to this; For examle in the U.S. the relationship between money and happiness dissipates once a person earns over about $75,000. For a 2018 study, wealthy people were asked what they needed to be a perfect 10 in happiness. Their response? Most said two to 10 times more than what they had. A desire for more money zaps happiness because whatever you have is never enough.

Drinking alcohol makes you happier.

Drinking cocktails, wine, or beer may give you a quick buzz, but it has lasting side effects that drain happiness. Having just one to seven drinks a week shrinks the brain, according to a brain-imaging study in JAMA Neurology. Alcohol can also impair decision-making, which can mess up your career, relationships, and health—a recipe for unhappiness. While it’s possible for some to consume alcohol in moderation, you shouldn’t rely on it as a mood booster or regulator.

Marijuana makes you happier.

People who smoke pot often say they love how it gives them a case of the giggles and feelings of euphoria. But I’ve found those effects are coupled with a downside. Research shows regular frequent use of marijuana causes premature aging of the brain and decreases cerebral blood flow, which is a sign of an unhealthy and unhappy brain. Using marijuana as an adolescent or teen heightens the risk of unhappiness as a 2019 review points to an increased risk of depression and suicide in young adulthood.

Sweet treats and desserts—any sugar—make you happier.

Eating sweets can provide a momentary feeling of bliss, but it steals happiness in the long run. What makes sugar such an unhappy food? In addition to being pro-inflammatory and addictive, it is associated with depression, as well as dementia, diabetes, and obesity. Where’s the happiness in those? As with alcohol, it’s possible to enjoy dessert in moderation. Just be sure to tune into your hunger cues and be mindful of using food as a way to regulate your emotions.

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