Happiness is a hot topic these days. Everyone wants to be happy, but do we do what it takes to be happy?
What does it take to be happy?
Neuroscientists tell us that well being is a skill and it can be learned. But like learning anything, it requires practice. First, we need to make the choice that we want to be happy. And then we need to do what it takes to get there…..
There is a basic concept of neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity means that the brain changes. It changes in response to experience and training. Mostly, the brain changes by itself, without intention. But we can take advantage of this fact and intentionally shape our brains to cultivate kindness and compassion which will increases happiness.
The neuroscients have outlined some basic principles:
The first is resilience. How easy is it for you to let go? Can you be upset in a situation, angry with someone and then allow yourself to becme restored to your natural stable self? The sooner you are able to let go and move on, the happier you will be. Being in a very upset state effects the body. You can become tense and feel pain. The mind and body are connected and the better the mind feels, the better the body feels and vice versa. imagine a situation in which you’re upset with someone. How do you feel? Are you happy? I think, probably, you’re mad and angry. When you begin to let go, if you pay attention to how you feel, you can notice that your body feels better and you begin to feel more relaxed.
The second principle is attitude and gratitude. There’s been so much written about positive attitudes. It is common knowledge that a positive attitude can be beneficial in your life and will help through difficult situations. And a gratitude practice can go a long way. I often suggest to people that they practice gratitude. Whatever your life situaton, it is helpful to note what you feel thankful for. If you list some things that you feel grateful for before you go to sleep at night, you’ll probably be calmer and sleep better!
Next is generosity. The neuroscientists have done research to prove that folks who are more generous feel better and are happier in their lives. When we speak of generosity, its inclusive of all kinds of generosity. That can include spending time and giving of yourself to someone who is in need, doing for others etc.
And the last important concept here, is attention. What is meant by that is the inverse of mind wandering. Research has shown that people who are present, whose minds don’t wonder from what they are doing are generally happier and more satisfied with their lives.
So, now, let’s practice!