The Happiness of Doing Something Creative – Like Coining a New Word

Scrabble letters

One way to give ourselves a boost of happiness is to work on something creative.

We might make progress on a huge project—like writing a novel or writing a song—or we might give ourselves a small assignment we can tackle quickly.

Research suggests that undertaking small acts of everyday creativity can boost our sense of well-being.

On the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast, Elizabeth and I have suggested many ideas for getting a quick hit of creative accomplishment: write a haiku; choose a one-word theme for the year; and write a six-word memoir. Right now, I’m working on a collection of aphorisms—what joy it brings me to write an aphorism!

Along those lines, I set myself the task of creating new words for emotions and situations I’ve experienced.

I came up with several neologisms:

  • Querylous – the feeling of annoyance created when someone refuses to give you straight answers to reasonable questions. (I often feel querylous because my husband Jamie is a Questioner who, like many Questioners, resists answering questions—ironic, but true.)
  • Replecity – the terrific feeling of being fully charged or filled up, as when your smartphone and earbuds are fully charged, your gas tank is full, your printer has a fresh ream of paper, your pantry is well-stocked, your laundry is clean and put away.
  • HALified – the feeling of dread created when your smartphone, smart-speaker, or other device lights up, speaks, or takes action unprompted.
  • Starlucks: the joy of walking into a coffee shop and discovering that you’re the only person in line.
  • Litaddled: the feeling of frustration created when someone asks you what you’ve been reading lately, and you can’t remember a single title.

I had so much fun coming up with these words.

What neologisms can you dream up? And do you have other suggestions for ways to get a quick boost of creativity?

Working on a big project is enormously satisfying, but it’s also very gratifying to tackle something small.



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