The science of happiness
Happiness in crisis
2 KNOWLEDGE OF HAPPY LIVING
. What is happiness?
. What function does happiness serve?
. What does happiness do?
. Happiness and relationships
. Laughter- The best medicine
. The biology of money
- STEPS FOR LASTING HAPPY LIVING
. Finding happiness in humour
. Enjoying the wisdom of others
. Getting rid of negative thoughts
. Feeling good about other people
. Feeling good about yourself
. Finding peace in crisis
- ACTIVITIES FOR LASTING HAPPY LIVING
. Eat happiness
. The principle of happy eating
. Happy Diet
. The science of exercise
. Runners High
. Generating happy chemicals
. Benefits of exercise
. Depression – burst-e-r
. Dancing and Motivation
Positive behavior in crisis
. Appreciating beauty
. Work to become who you are
. While there’s life there’s hope
. Co-operative pressure
. Make tradition work for you.
- LIFE STANDARDS IN HAPPY LIVING
. Y our Health
. Your social life
. Your work life
. Your choices
. Your engaged life
. Meaning life
. Your genes
. Life circumstances
. Interpersonal Relationships
. Your attitude
. Finding purpose
. Luxury Effect
- VIRTUES OF HAPPY LIVING
. Acts of Kindness
. Positive environmental Influence
. Loving without reason
. Selfless service
. Thanks for everything
. Leading others to the door
. Doggedly determined
. Happy Relationships
. Finding everyday happiness
. Releasing the past
- TIPS FOR HAPPY LIVING
. Positive Affirmation
. Habit control
. Adopting external expressions and taking baby steps
. Enjoying your food and accepting exceptions
. Silence can be golden and the nicest NO
. Using Positive and Negative model
. Going Ape in relationships and adopting deliberate mediocrity
. Finding Blessings in pain or problems
. Re-orienting to gratitude
BLISS – THE ULTIMATE HAPPINESS
. The nature of bliss
. Bliss experiment
. The anatomy of desire
. Completing the journey
. Bliss is the ultimate of happy living
- List of references
This book is a compilation of the works of experts in the various fields. The authors did not go to the lab for any information. Their intention is to encourage the younger ones on how to live happy and blissful lives.
Everyday happiness like pleasure is based on the senses. For example, we cannot imagine feeling pleasure without the ability to see, hear, touch, taste or smell. Easy pleasures include sex, shopping, eating and traveling. Our entire human journey can be thought of as the adventure from one end of the happiness scale to the other stepping – stone on the way of the ultimate happiness – called bliss.
Everyday happiness is the type most psychologists dwell upon as our own final goal. Finding this everyday happiness involves a variety of positive traits including gratitude, optimism, serving others, experiencing a sense of connection with the world around us and having at least a small sense of purpose or meaning. From a psychological level, we can even say that being happy requires achieving’’ balanced brain chemistry’’. If scientists were to perform a brain scan or draw blood of someone happy in this sense, they would very likely find the ‘’ right’’ regions of their brain lit up, or the balance of the mood-regulating brain chemicals – Serotonin, norepinephrine, endorphin, and other brain chemicals. Bliss however is of a higher dimension. We need to pursue strategies that raise our level of everyday happiness to finding the bliss within us. It is worthy of note that everyday happiness is outer directed in our senses, while bliss doesn’t require any kind of outer relationship with the world.
Numerous studies have shown beyond any doubt that there’s a direct link between exercise and happiness. Scientists showed that you should be aiming for 20 minutes of moderate exercise three to five days a week. Exercise literally generates the chemicals that make us feel happy. Birds swoop, lambs gambol, and horses canter. Whether, you call it exercise or not, you enjoy your body, optimizing your physicality.
HAPPINESS IN CRISIS
Most people believe that crises in life descend suddenly and unexpectedly. In fact, they tend to build right in front of our eyes. But the emotional impact makes taking even the smallest step difficult when a big leap is often needed. Understanding that a crisis need not affect your happiness, that it is not necessarily a change for the worse, makes us already better equipped to handle it. A crisis is a curve in the road, not a dead end.
We choose how we think, and in turn, the way we think influences the choices we make that shape our lives. We have free will, but the way we use our free will is a direct result of the taught we choose to have. No life is an accident, but choices made. You make choices to enhance the experience of life; choices to select, to acquire, and to use. They are simple to understand and easy to apply. They have been used by people with great success and happy lives. The lesson there is to learn and heed when faced with any of the unknown and unexpected personal crises we will face in our lives –
. Place your trust in a safe place
. Find peace
. Do the next right thing to survive the crisis
. Then inherit your happy living
In the last few years, scientists have spent a lot of time studying happiness. We don’t need to concern ourselves too much with the technicalities of what they’ve found.
Possibilities affecting happy living are assessed thus –
How you feel most of the time
How you assess the frequency of happy feelings
How you assess your baseline happiness
(The level you’re at when nothing unusually good or bad has happened)
. How you assess the amount of exercise you get
. How often you do exercise
. How you assess your eating habits
. What are your spiritual beliefs –
. How you assess your relationship life
. How you assess your social life
. How very close you are to family and or friends
. How you assess your job
. How you regard the future
In summary the cases considered in this book are categorized into ten major titles; each title with its own sub-titles as follows –
. Science of happiness
. Knowledge of happy living
. Steps for lasting happy living
. Activities for lasing happy living
. Life standards affecting happy living
. Virtues of happy living
. Tips for happy living
CONCLUSION – Bliss is the ultimate of happy living
KNOWLEDGE OF HAPPY LIVING
THE SCIENCE OF HAPPINESS
In the last few years, scientists have spent a lot of time studying happiness or happy living.
The key point is that happiness in life appears to be down to things that are either difficult or impossible to change, such as genes and life circumstances like your career. Therefore, it makes sense to focus on the remaining possibilities. Your being unhappy does not help anybody and indeed, makes some people lives worse. It is not immoral to be happy. Change your attitude and live a happy life.
You are quite often able to be happy but your sense of well-being is frequently destroyed by bad news of various kinds. Of- course you should empathize with others but remember, you being unhappy, does not help anybody. Your happiness is seldom spoiled by the problems other people have. It does not mean you do not care. On the contrary, you may care very much – but you have learned that you can help without having to be unhappy yourself. You have the right attitude in trying to find happiness in everything you do. You are doing a good thing by insisting on at least one happy event in a day, but you are not maximizing your potential happiness. And you are leaving yourself vulnerable if the big thing in your day does not work out. Do not leave something as important as happiness to chance
WHAT IS HAPPINESS
Happiness can be defined as a mental state characterized by consistently positive emotions. Positive emotions include curiosity, joy, contentment, excitement, interest or pleasure. Life satisfaction is also considered in many happiness studies. Most researchers are more interested in the effects of chronic happiness, or the on- going propensity to experience positive mood, than in the immediate effects of a momentary happy feeling.
WHY STUDY HAPPINESS
The goal of life is no more than the absence of misery. Surely, we would like more for our lives than that. By studying happiness and positive emotions, psychologists learn how people best enhance their lives and work towards self- development and fulfillment
WHAT FUNCTION DOES HAPPINESS SERVE?
Happiness researchers believe that positive emotions signal to us that we are in good shape. Our needs are being met, we have adequate resources and we are reaching our goals. Positive emotional states also encourage people to engage with the environment, to seek out and take on new goals. We can contrast the effects of positive emotions with those of negative emotions, such as depression or fear. These emotions signal to the individual that something is not right, that the environment is not safe, and that the best course of action is withdrawal and avoidance
HOW MUCH DOES THE INTENSITY OF HAPPINESS MATTER?
Apparently, the consistency of positive emotions matters more than the intensity of them. One study showed that the proportion of time that people felt positive emotions was a better predictor of their evaluation of their overall happiness than the intensity of their positive emotions. In other words, happy people tend to feel mildly or moderately happy most of the time but may not feel intensely happy all that often.
HOW DO WE MEASURE HAPPINESS?
Because happiness is a subjective state, the only way to directly measure happiness is to ask people how they feel. There may be physiological indications of positive mood, such as low levels of stress hormones, but there are no objective measures of happiness per se. Self-report measures pose a number of problems, however. People may not always know exactly how they feel. Alternatively, they may bias their reports according to how they want to see themselves or what they feel is socially desirable. Nonetheless, self-report of happiness has yielded meaningful data in a large body of research. Researchers also distinguish between rating overall happiness and tracking moment. The second type of rating allows researchers to connect emotional reactions to the specific activities people are engaging in at the time.
WHAT DOES HAPPINESS DO?
Certainly, many things can make us happy (or unhappy), but a consistently positive mood also brings significant benefits in and of itself. Scientists found that people who are generally happy also demonstrate adaptive psychological traits, such as optimism, resilience in the face of frustration, and enhanced goal seeking. In other words, happy people are upbeat, resilient go-getters. These traits in turn are related to a wealth of positive outcomes, including increased popularity, social engagement, pro-social (helpful) behavior, coping skills, and even physical health.
HAPPINESS AND RELATIONSHIP
Close relationships are fundamental to happiness. Married people not only live longer but they are generally more content than people who are single, widowed or divorced. According to some psychologists, there is a formula for judging the happiness of any relationship – Frequency of sex minus frequency of rows. A good relationship as already noted, is vitally important to happiness. But there is more to it than that. Sex generates chemicals that make us feel good.
Family and friends sustain us when the going gets tough and are a source of fun and laughter the rest of time. You are probably going to spend something like a third of your adult waking hours at work. So, job satisfaction is extremely important on that basis only. But in addition, work possibly gives such meaning to your life that you would do it even if you did not need the money. It is vital that you should feel free to develop as the person you really are. You will never be happy if you are constrained either by your own inhibitions or by the need to conform with what others wrongly expect of you. Self-esteem is very important for happiness. Conversely, low self-esteem is linked with depression. For most people, self-esteem is related to achievements. But if you can learn to see your self-worth in other aspects of your life you will be less vulnerable
Surveys show that people who go out of their way to help others feel happier than other people. Well-balanced people see themselves very much as others see them. If you are not fairly happy with yourself then you are just not going to be happy at all. It is that simple. Your happiness is extremely vulnerable to the things life throws at you. You need to work on this otherwise whatever happiness you manage to develop will always be built on a shaky foundation. Like most people you can rise above a certain amount of misfortune, but greater happiness depends on you developing a more resilient baseline. You can still be happy in the face of all manner of setbacks. But do is good for you. Do not be complacent; keep working on it.
LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE
You probably do not need convincingly that laughter. Laugh and you are less likely to get ill; if you are ill, you will get better more quickly. Let us trace what happens in the brain when you hear a good joke. An electric wave moves through the cerebral cortex – the largest part of the brain in less than half a second of seeing or hearing something potentially funny. The left side of the cortex analyses these joke, or situation. Activity increases in the frontal lobe. The occipital lobe processes any visual signals. The right hemisphere of the cortex is where you get the joke. The most primitive part of the brain – the limbic system especially the amygdala and hippocampus is involved in the emotional response. The hypothalamus is involved in the production of loud, uncontrollable laughter. So, brain is getting a good increase in T-cells and B-cells, which makes immune-globulins anti-bodies A, G and M, which defend the body from pathogens. It increases complement component 3, which helps antibodies pierce defective or infected cells in-order to destroy them. Laughter benefits anyone suffering from diabetes because it lowers blood sugar. It benefits the heart, lowers blood pressure, stress hormones, including cortisol. It strengthens abdominal muscles, relaxes the body, reduces pain, possibly by the production of endorphins, but certainly through relaxation and distraction. It flushes water vapour from the lungs. It speeds recovery from surgery, especially for children, and it stops everyone thinking you are ill.
THE BIOLOGY OF MONEY
The key idea is that some people argue that you cannot deliberately chase happiness. The things you think will make you happy, seldom do in reality. It is quite true that most of us are fairly bad at predicting the things that would give us the greatest happiness. But you can learn how to make yourself warm and how to make yourself cold. You can learn how to make yourself hungry and how to make yourself full. You can learn all manner of things. Why should happiness be any different from others –
Remember this, we all want to be happy but when it comes to making a choice between happiness and something-else – Money for instance, people so often choose the something-else. Many people would choose wealth or power or success over happiness. That is not to say, of course, that you cannot be rich, powerful, successful and happy. But when you are faced with a choice then, if you want to be happy, you must choose happiness
Money is possessive. It is a jealous lover. It feels more consoling to say with what you know than to try break free of the habitual cycles of work. The pursuit of money destroys many of the talents and virtues that are needed for the art of life itself. It is as if we prefer the pleasures that money can buy to the other relationships that life offers. The challenge is to embrace the demands that other relationships make of us, particularly human ones, and wean ourselves off the demands made by money. The love of money is detestable, avarice is a vice. For happy living – Learn not to worry so much about tomorrow, learn not to fear for the limitless uncertainties that money tells us it can insure us against, learn to know the good over the useful and learn to love the enjoyment of what is before us right now. The question is – Can you do this. To live happily, it is a must.
STEPS FOR LASTING HAPPINESS
FINDING HAPPINESS IN HUMOUR
Humour is clearly part of good life. It is highly pleasurable for one thing or the other. The frequency of laughter is directly correlated to reduced heart disease. Happy people laugh, as do those who approach life cheerfully and attentively. The witty have wits. And that is good. But there is more to humour than light relief and health benefits. Its value as a virtue is not instrumental. It is what humour reveals to us about the limits of human understanding, or to put it another way, humour has much to do with humility. In fact, a good laugh is certainly the most enjoyable and least pretentious way of exercising that otherwise tricky virtue, modestly. Humour is fun. The greater the in-appropriate-ness of the object out of context, the greater is the surprise, and more violent the laughter.
The advantages of humour are that such things prick bubbles. Individuals who can use humour to lighten moods are so appealing to us. At one level, they make us laugh, and so offer us a moment of pleasure.
ENJOY THE WISDOM OF OTHERS.
A wise heart is referred to as loving knowledge. It is the insight someone gains because their compassion has been stirred, often as a result of a painful experience. The pain breaks through the protective barriers of reason to reveal insights that reason alone cannot contain. The fact comes as a revelation. Knowledge of the heart must come from the heart. It is an emotional response. The love of knowledge might also be called a training and refinement of feeling. People gain a true understanding of what the good life consists in only when they have discarded what they thought they knew about it. It is love that explodes their delusions and though the experience is painful, their compassion is stirred and they become much wiser about life as a result. This is a good reason to enjoy the wisdom of others for happy living
We often do not realize what we have until it is lost. It is hard for us to admit how vulnerable we are, how fragile the good things of life can be, until the love of knowledge reveals their precariousness and preciousness. The wisdom we gain is not just valuable for the light it casts on our predicament, it is based on compassion. It can be redirected towards others. The love of knowledge is experienced most powerfully as a result of an upheaval in life. However, it can be known in more modest ways too, simply by experiencing with small gestures of compassion towards others. Try to offer some cash to the wayfarer on the street and see what it tells you about yourself and them. Also, instead of discarding a cracked mug or holed pair of gloves, try to mend them. Caring for your stuff might change your experience of the World. This again is the wisdom from the elders. It pays in the long run and you enjoy and benefit more.
GETTING RID OF NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
Negative emotions can harm you, and the antidote is laughter. We believe, for example that angers fuels action. We believe that cynicism protects us from trickery. We believe we are defined by the people and things we hate just as much as by the people and things we like. But if you are going to be truly happy, you first have to unlearn those kinds of negative ideas. Not only do they poison the mind, they also damage the physical body and lead to various diseases. Those potentially damaging emotions are anger, blame, cynicism, guilt, hate, indifference, jealousy, resentment, revenge and suspicion-The antidotes are empathy, tolerance, and understanding.
Experts have long postulated a link between emotion and illness. They pinpointed synapse-like contacts where the autonomic nervous system responsible for running the body, spoke to the immune cells using neurotransmitters. One other mechanism connects emotions and physical health. During stress, the body releases hormones including adrenaline- epinephrine, noradrenaline- norepinephrine, cortisol and prolactin. Generally speaking, these stress hormones have the effect of suppressing the immune system. The problem is that if stress is prolonged or constant, then your immune system will be permanently compromised. What is more, stress hormones lead to higher levels of glucose, cholesterol and fat in the blood, to provide the energy for physical action. But if physical action does not follow, plaque gets deposited on the walls of the blood vessels, which can be a risk to health in the long term. To that long -term risk is added the short- term risk of heart attack when noradrenaline levels are sharply elevated. Risk of disorders related to negative emotions includes – allergies, asthma, cancer, colds, and flu, depression, diabetes, headaches, heart diseases, hypertension, indigestion, muscle pain and cramps sexual problems and ulcers. The conclusion is simple – Laugh and stay healthy for happy living.
FEELING GOOD ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE
The feelings may be blame, resentment and revenge. Ideally you need to resolve a situation, when it occurs without carrying any emotional poison with you into the future. The result is resentment and a desire for revenge. These are particularly destructive emotions especially in a relationship. If you think in these terms, you cause immense unhappiness not only for your partner but also for yourself. While you have those kinds of thoughts, you just cannot be happy. The next time you have a disagreement with someone, remember you both have vulnerabilities and weaknesses, rather than focusing on theirs, begin with your own. Do not list their failings in your mind. List your own failings. Remind yourself for the purpose of balance, that you also sometimes make mistakes and that – That is perfectly normal. Your desire for revenge will go. Because someone does not behave as you want, does not mean they are deliberately out to oppose you. Some issue in their lives may be inhibiting them. Do you best to help other people tackle the issues in their lives – To err is human, to forgive divine. It is a very wise saying because forgiving is extremely good for your health and happiness. And not forgiving can cause anxiety, depression, heart problems, chronic pain and premature death. Forgive and stop turning the situation over in your mind and let it go. Secondly, when it is you who is in the wrong, apologize without making excuses.
FEELING GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF
If you feel guilty, give yourself a pat on the back. Of- course you feel guilty. A person who does not know of guilt is known as a psychopath. But there is no point in hating yourself either. Everybody makes mistakes. You cannot be blamed for that. If your guilt becomes a source of discouragement and ultimately – Depression, then you cannot function to the benefit of other people. That would be adding another mistake on top of the earlier ones. One of the great paradoxes of life is that it is the most thoughtful people who tend to be the least satisfied with them-selves. Unfortunately, lots of people feel guilty about enjoying themselves. So, whenever they do something – Enjoyable they actually end up feeling miserable rather than happy. If you are hard on yourself, it means you recognize the need to grow. Growing is itself a generator of happiness. Be happy that you still have a journey to make – a hugely enjoyable journey.
FIND PEACE IN CRISIS
Finding peace in crisis can be something that makes you feel better about yourself and your predicament. The most important measure is not what or where or how or with whom. Things loosen and begin to move. The noises end, the frustration dissolves, and step by step, one by one, the way ahead goes clear. The mechanism of dealing with crisis is to stop. Stop rolling the implications of the crises around in your mind. Trust in God. You may believe you are alone, but you are not. You may be required to reach out to others, and you can and must do it. You are searching for strength. Others have it and will over it to you. Treasure and grasps the things in your life that you value and that gives you comfort. Consider them and cherish them as a means of taking the first steps towards peace and serenity.
HOW TO DEAL WITH PERSONAL CRISIS
. First find peace within yourself
. There is value in procrastination. When you reach the end of the rope – Let go, enough said.
. You do not create storms. You do not control storms. And you do not welcome their destruction.
. You need to wait them out, assess the damage, and take steps to restore your life after the storm has passed. Each step must be valued not only for the way it takes you closer to the peace and serenity you need, but for the calmness it delivers, and for the way it enables you to think clearly, logically and intelligently.
. Remember that your ability to deal with crisis situation through logic and intelligence is severely reduced when you are emotionally upset. It is not only difficult to make rational decisions in that situation, it is impossible. Your mind and body have been geared by evolution to save you from a crisis by either fleeing for your life or standing your ground to fight your tormentor. Both responses demand action – Neither calls for intelligence and logic.
. Embrace the idea with enthusiasm and gratitude. The most important step you can take to deal with major crisis is to trust a Higher Power to bring you peace. In the embrace of feeling peacefully, you will recognize the next right thing to do.
ACTIVITIES FOR LASTING HAPPY LIVING
EAT HAPPINESS and know the SCIENCE OF FOOD
The food you eat can help make you happy. It may be difficult for people to describe happiness in words but scientists can more or less define it in terms of hormones. Hormones are the chemical messengers in the body that tell other chemicals what to do. One of the most important hormones for happiness is serotonin. Without enough serotonin, we feel anxious and even aggressive. With the optimum amount of serotonin, we feel cam and contended. But where do these hormones come from- Ultimately, they come from food, which provides the raw materials. In a manner of speaking, you can actually eat unhappiness. And in the same way, you can eat happiness – A healthy diet. In actual fact you eat to live.
The word VITAMIN has only been in use for a hundred years in the new science of nutrition. Hormones including happiness hormones come from amino-acids. Some of these amino acids can be made by the body, so there does not seem to be much benefit in loading up on them in your diet, unless you are actually deficient. But other amino acids cannot be made by the body. They have to come from food; tryptophan is one of these. For adults, the amino acids that have to be eaten are isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. Although nowadays we have access to an enormous variety of foods, it is quite possible that we consume fewer essential nutrients than our ancestors. That is partly because so many nutrients have been stripped out during food processing and partly because we have switched to the wrong kind of foods.
Human beings evolved on a stone- age diet of fruits, vegetables nuts and seeds, along with a small quantity of fish and lean meat. Here are some of the key chemicals that are connected with food.
Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that makes us seek pleasure and enjoy life. It produces enthusiasm, exuberance and joy. It creates anticipation and motivation. Without it, we would never do anything. When we have a pleasure experience, dopamine reinforces it and makes us want it again. Dopamine is synthesized from tyrosine, an amino acid particularly found in wheat germ and milk.
Endorphins are the natural pain killer in the body, like actual morphine. Endorphins create euphoria. The body can be tricked into releasing endorphins by spices hot enough to burn the tongue.
Noradrenaline is synthesized from tyrosine. Although it is also associated with stress, in the right circumstances noradrenaline elevates the mood.
Oxytocin, among other things, promotes touching and affectionate behavior, which tends to make people happy.
PEA (Phenyl- ethylamine) is the amphetamine – like substance that produces that – Walking on air, feeling, especially when we are in love. It is found in chocolate and some soft drinks and is produced during vigorous exercise.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel peaceful, unaggressive, monogamous and content.
But it reduces sex drive and the speed of orgasm, and too much causes sleepiness and lethargy.
Testosterone is considered the male sex hormone but it is also present in women at lower levels. It increases sex drive, but too much causes aggression and irritability. Meat increases testosterone
THE PRINCIPLES OF HAPPY EATING
Experts believe that illness is a common cause of unhappiness, and poor diet is a common cause of illness. The general principle of healthy eating is this; you can only eat so much in a day, so make sure it is nutritious. In other words, there are empty calories that contain very few vitamins and minerals (sweet, crisps, junk food) and on the other hand, there are calories that come packed with vitamins and minerals. So, do your best to restrict those empty calories. In order to make sure you are getting enough of the nutrients for health and happiness, your diet each day should include the following –
. Whole grain,
. Vegetables – including green leafy vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and legumes.
. You also need to pay particular attention to the kind of fat in your diet.
. Maximize mono-saturated fats, such as olive oil, omega – 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in oily fish.
. For optimum brain function, including happiness, you want flexible cell membranes rich in omega – 3
The principles of happy eating also tie in with the need to maintain a consistently healthy level of blood sugar. When blood sugar falls below normal about 70 mg per Dl, you have symptoms like nausea, nervousness, cold or sweating, rapid heart- beat, numbness and trembling.
If blood sugar falls much further, symptoms can become progressively more severe and can include confusion, anxiety, irritability and anger, blurred vision, dizziness, headache, weakness or lack of energy, poor co-ordination, difficult walking or talking and fatigue.
When you have low blood sugar you cannot be happy.
According to one study, depressed people are 42 percent more likely to develop diabetes than happy people. Some nutritionists also see a direct link between happiness and diabetes resistance. So, stay happy and reduce your risk. Food allergies can make you depressed. Food allergies are sometimes a cause of low moods and even depression. The most frequent culprits are citrus fruits, coffee, chocolate, diary- products, oats, nuts, soya and tea.
Researchers found that garlic boosts mood and reduces anxiety, irritability and fatigue. Brazilians are said to be among the happiest people in the world. Their nut may be the secret. Brazilian nuts contain more selenium than any other food and about 2,500 times more selenium than any other nut. Selenium deficiency causes low moods and depression. Caffeine is a drug that can boost mood and increase mental energy. Chilli Peppers probably are not the sort of thing you would want to eat everyday but, now and then, they are a fun way of giving yourself a happiness boost. Chocolate contains all the mood-boosting chemicals. What the brain needs most is a steady supply of complex carbohydrates. The brain is fuelled by glucose – Best supplied from complex carbohydrates which include dried beans, pasta, vegetables, cereal, and bread. Complex carbohydrates are happiness foods because they help maintain constant blood sugar and facilitate the production of serotonin. Happiness diet aims to help you to be happier. The food you eat can influence how happy or unhappy you feel. Eat well for happy living.
THE SCIENCE OF EXERCISE
Asking how much exercise you need is a little bit like asking how many jokes you need or how much music you need. Remember, it is all fun. Minimum of 20 minutes of brisk exercise three times a week is all you need for warming up and cooling down. Five times a week would be better. A scientist carried out a study on 150 depressed people, aged 50 or over. Not only did exercise substantially improve mood, he concluded that for each 50- minutes increment of exercise, there was an accompanying 50 percent reduction in relapse rate. The sooner you can take physical action when faced with stress, the less the stress will negatively affect you.
BENEFITS OF EXERCISE – Feel happier, sleep better, have more energy, look better, enjoy greater self-esteem, think more clearly, handle stress more easily, have a reduced risk of heart-attack, increase your levels of good cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, increase your bone density, boost your immune system, enhance your sexual responsiveness, increase your life expectancy. All these are general happy feelings. Experts recommend exercise and psychotherapy rather than anti-depressants as the first line of treatment for mild depression.
What does Runners high feel like – Different people describe it differently. Some believe it as a certain immunity from pain, both physical and mental, coupled with a sense of detachment and a quiet sort of happiness.
KEY INGREDIENTS TO RUNNERS HIGH
. The exercise should be high enough to generate those happy chemicals, low enough to avoid real discomfort or pain.
. Do not think about the exercise instead let your mind wander over pleasant subjects such as your relationship or the beauty of the country side.
. Exercise regularly – Say, five days a week. Do not expect to feel euphoria early on – It will probably take a few months before you have your first experience.
. You will usually need to exercise for around 30 minutes before you start to experience an altered state of consciousness
. For the first 20 minutes, while your body cranks itself up, you are more likely to be wondering why you are doing it at all.
. At 30 minutes you may start to feel a mild euphoria
. Between 45 minutes and an hour you may enter an altered state of consciousness
. Once you have had the runners high you will find it comes more and more easily.
Jogging is a lot of fun. The steady rhythmical movement seems to generate more HAPPY chemicals per minute than many other activities.
FUN IN JOGGING
. It does not require any special equipment.
. It does not have to cost anything
. It does not require any special training
. It provides plenty of fresh air and sunshine out of doors
. It can be done in-doors on a machine when the weather is bad
. It can be done alone or with friends
. It can be done anywhere
. It enhances creative thinking and permits meditation
. It makes progress ever easy to measure.
Because of the above reasons, jogging is one of the very best things you can do to get happy-fit.
DANCING AND MOTIVATION
Dancing does sound like fun to a lot of people. But actually, it makes you healthier. Dancing has all the benefits of jogging plus a few more. The only thing is that it is harder to measure the progress. In dancing you need to be flexible. You need to add some stretches into your exercise routine.
. To keep motivated, try to take your exercise regularly at a certain time every – day. On your days off, just go for a leisurely stroll. When the time comes- round, your body will soon start demanding that you do something active with it.
. Exercise together with friends and have fun, unless of course, you prefer to be alone.
. You need not strain yourself. Take it easy and build up gradually
. Keep record and take pride in your progress
. Keep thinking of the health benefits – Lower resting heart rate, blood pressure and weight.
You have fewer health problems and you add two to ten extra years of life. Exercise is a powerful mood enhancer – At-least as effective as anti- depressants. So, if you really want to be happy, do not deny yourself this proven method.
Motivation is not just a matter of producing happiness- chemicals. It strengthens your heart and lung system and various other muscles. It improves the function of every part of your organism. You feel healthy and you tend to feel happy. In fact, in many studies, good health is rated second only to marriage as a fundamental cause of happiness particularly for older people who do not take health for granted the way the younger people do. It works both ways – Health equals happiness. People who exercise a little every week enjoy two extra years of life compared with couch potatoes. And people who exercise a little more but still only moderately enjoy almost four extra years. Those who exercise regularly and vigorously gain as much as ten years, according to some researchers. Exercise not only gets the blood pumping into every corner of your body but also every nook and cranny in your brain.
BEHAVIOR IN CRISIS FOR HAPPY LIVING
Our deeds pursue us from afar, and what we have been, makes us what we are. Our lives are unique but the crises we face are not unusual. Many of the crises that people encounter through life, sound familiar to you because either you or someone you know has experienced them in one form or another. The difference among crises is almost always measured not by what happened to you but by the way you reacted. All kinds of things affect your reactions – Your values, your social standing, the stage of life you are in when the crises occur and other influences. The same things also affect your response – Sympathetic or dismissive – to others whom you see in crises. The descriptive words that might lurk at the back of your mind could include loser, low life, poverty-stricken, abandoned, lazy, and unloved. They are applied in trying to explain the state of some-one who is worse off than we are. These words are often wrong. Although we react differently to crises, we need a common method of working our way through them. And it exists. We may handle a serious crisis in different ways but our bodies are programmed to react in the same way – By freezing up emotionally. It is buried within our genes – Not being able to reach a decision that appears beneficial under the circumstances is part of the fight – or – flight response handed down from our cave-dwelling ancestors. Fight or flight is the default setting for anyone in an emotional crisis. When you encounter a situation that requires more than the capabilities of this setting, you become emotionally and physically paralysed. Professional therapists play their role by assisting their patients and clients to overcome the emotional agony first. Then, with the pain under control, people begin to find the means, with their therapists assisting to make wise decision.
FEELINGS WHEN IN CRISIS
. You feel overwhelmed
. You feel all alone
. You deny reality
. You blame yourself for your situation
. You cannot make a rational decision
DEALING WITH CRISES
. Replace behave with react. This behavior is broken into four categories – Acting, Thinking, Feeling and Physiology. Of these four, we have direct control over the first two. We can choose how we act and what we think but we cannot change how we feel or the way our bodies react to stress, except by changing the first two. If we choose to act and think in a manner that relieves our stress and enables us to deal with the reality we are facing, our feelings will become more positive and our physiology will function normally. The lesson from this is important, not only for dealing with physical crises but in almost every- thing you do. If you act and think in the best manner possible, you will improve your feelings; emotional well-being, and suppress the negative physiological responses including loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, and a range of others. It is true that you cannot avoid your initial response because it is built into your DNA. But it does not have to dominate you either.
Beauty speaks to us of what is good, speaks so powerfully to us because it promises something we desire, perhaps happiness or insight or fulfillment. This is why we love what is beautiful, and want to commit to it, often by possessing it, though we typically do not quite know what this might entail. You commit to your beautiful lover, though you cannot anticipate what 30 years together will bring. That lack of certainty about what beauty is promising, coupled with the way it speaks to our probably confused loves and longings is why we will never conclusively agree about what is beautiful. That is the joy of the subject and its intractable nature.
Mathematics possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty – A beauty cold and austere. Mathematics suggests a deeper way of seeing the truth. Mathematics and science clarify things because they discern patterns. The shadowy life is one of grime and greys. The enlightened life is one of rich colour. It is the desire for beauty – Of which the beauty of mathematics is a part that enables prisoners to overcome their fear. First of the shadows and then of the greater light that opens up before them. There is a mystical element that opens up with this aesthetic experience. Perceiving truth is an exercise of the imagination as well as of science. It requires metaphor and illusions, as well as logic. The quest for beauty naturally reaches out for these things. This is why a useful way of talking about the divine in the modern world is to talk about the Good, rather than God. This leaves us with a sense of the tremendousness of being able to appreciate such a thing as truth at all, if only obliquely. An we appreciate it because it is both beautiful and good. To understand what is true, is to see more clearly, to have cultivated a penetrating mind, a deeper experience of things that was awakened by beauty. An expert once said beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and devil are fighting there and the battle field is the heart of man. Our life contains some beauty worth relating. This is something to do more consciously. Make something of your day. Seek out its moments of beauty and try to speak of them. Avoid sentimentality and fantasy. Think about the pattern. With that effort, beauty could be drawing you towards something that is true – The science of Happy Living.
WORK TO SHAPE YOU FOR HAPPY LIFE
For there is a perennial nobleness, and even sacredness in work for we spend the best days of the week over the something we need to consider. Moreover, while some people would say that they work to live, meaning that their real life does not take place in the confines of the office or factory, there is need for a warning. You become what you are, if you practise a certain way of life for roughly eight hours a day, then it will forge you, shape you and form you. Work has long been regarded ambivalently. It is good because it fills your barns with grains. Do not skip work to gape at politicians and give ear to all the quarrels of the market place. The ancients tended to think that work was to be engaged in only when necessary. However, attitudes towards work took a different dimension at the turn of modernity. Labourers and officials could regard their work as good too, and moreover seek satisfaction in doing it. All jobs are to be valued. All jobs should deliver value. They all contribute to the person we become by working. It begins with how you go to work, continues with how you behave at work, deepens with the kind of satisfaction you seek from work – Is the pay cheque all you want. And then there is the solidarity of working on things with others in a common task. It is why we make friends at work, and nothing contributes more to a happy life than friends.
WHILE THERE IS LIFE THERE IS HOPE
We all have hope for the future, or at least anyone who believes life is worth living has hope. Hope is of critical importance in any life that can be called Good though for different reasons; along with faith and love. Hope is one of the cardinal virtues celebrated. But hope is arduous. Hope is hard work because it is concerned with what we do not have. The more distant what we desire is, the greater the need for hope.
There are two kinds of hope. The first kind is an emotion – A sort of passion or exhilaration. It is the feeling we have when we long for something that is pleasurable but difficult. The second kind of hope is cognitive, a habit of mind. It is the commitment we make to a belief or cause in which we place our hope. Again, what we hope for will be difficult to achieve. If it were not difficult, we would not have to hope for it but would merely look forward to it. This kind of hope delivers confidence and courage. Without it, the mind is filled with despair or fear.
Hope is different from optimism, because optimism does not demand much from us, whereas hope is always a challenge. A person of hope conveys a belief and strength that may well be against the odds. Hope can bring out the best in us and can even make what was unlikely more likely. Hope has a reflexive quality that tends to increase the odds. Hope is an active focus on the good that can change the world. This is certainly a major act for happy living. There is no greater good or hope than God. God is not the only good thing to hope for, but that God is the only thing truly worthy of human hope. This is because only God can provide the good things that we most dearly need. When hope is placed in God, hope can never be thwarted.
The science of evolution tells a dramatically different story. The latest idea is that forgiveness is actually a natural thing for human beings to do. For if we could not forgive the wrongs that others do to us, then we would soon stop co-operating with them. Forgiveness is defined as not retaliating when an opponent makes a selfish move against you. But because it is easy to imagine situations in which it would be sensible to forgive them their selfishness, particularly if at some future point we are likely to gain from them. Parents forgive their children because they carry their genes. So, forgiveness is precisely what the human animal has learned from their ancestors. It is really in our interests. Hence, we tend not to seek redress for the ills that befall us and so are able to co-operate in ways that are quite extraordinary compared with other creatures in the natural world. Revenge killings among Homo sapiens are rare compared with other intelligent species. Forgiveness could in fact, be the key to our evolutionary success. Without it, there would be no cities, no economy, no tradition because there would be no extensive co-operation. Forgiveness is morally good. It is written into our genes and brings about positive outcomes, namely reconciliation. The science is focusing only on those things that are easy to forgive. The tricky cases are the ones that really require forgiveness because, as they fester, they ruin our lives and deny us a future. True reconciliation does not consist in merely forgetting the past says the legend Nelson Mandela. So, it is worthy to take this heroic knowledge as a major science and activity for happy living.
MAKE TRADITION WORK FOR YOU
In truth, it is the feed-back between the artist and the traditions within which he or she is working that make for greatness. It is a dialogue with the tradition that is important, which means that the great artist must be fluent in the language of the tradition. Their freedom is found in their commitment to the languages. Tradition is not revered for its own sake but it provides rich resources for living. What is required is the right balance, a sense of the fit of tradition with the life sought that requires training. If the youthful temperament has a tendency to rebel and define itself against tradition, a more mature approach is able to value tradition and make it work for you. This is a major activity in the science of happy living. For example, it has long been noted that music has an extraordinary capacity to move us. Tears will well up in the eyes or a smile creep across a face at the sound of a few well-struck notes. Melody and harmony appear to speak directly to our souls. One musician wrote that if he could devise a means of hearing music throughout the day, he would be sure he had reached heaven.
Researchers suggest that our ancestors communicated by means of musical sound before they learned to speak words. Young babies have an innate and extraordinary capacity to distinguish between subtly different phonics. Music is a dominant theme in life. But it cannot be passed on genetically. We need our traditions and nurture them. And yet tradition has become a bad word. We prefer to choose a lifestyle, pick and mix from the options in the market place of ideas and follow fashions rather than make commitments. We value freedom and the sense of individual expressions it brings. But there is a risk here, for, while freedom is undoubtedly a great good, freedom must be for something. Think of the love of novelty in the modern world. Newness alone is taken to be synonymous with creativity, and new experience is frequently posited as the path to freedom. Pure originality is not the most common ingredient in great works of music. And it is certainly the case that great musicians did not compose merely to display originality. The main aim of the true artist is the perfection of his work. In this way he grows as a person through interaction with what he does. There is then, this tension inherent in our relationship to traditions. Through work the musician, like a scientist, learns by trial and error.
Also imagine that you are going to design something, perhaps an item of clothing or a kitchen or a garden. Immediately, you have two options. One is to take a blank piece of paper and start from scratch. The chances are that the design will not be very good, and the effort will lead you to give up. The other option is to put the blank piece of paper on one side, and turn instead to previous designs, older designs – Designs that can be said to work. From them, you may gain ideas of your own, perhaps the best, being the result of unwitting mistakes of pleasing discords. You will be in good company. Therefore, it pays to make tradition work for you.
LIFE STANDARDS IN HAPPY LIVING
. THE EFFECT OF HEALTH
How can we tell if happiness leads to better health – Any study of this question is plagued by the chicken and egg problem – Which came first, happiness or good health – There are many studies showing cross-sectional correlations between happiness and health -In other words, at any given point people who are happier are also healthier. While these studies show a clear relationship between positive mood and physical health, we cannot know which came first. Unlike cross-sectional studies, however, longitudinal studies can show whether high level of positive mood actually precede health outcomes. For example, in a recent study of five thousand people, high levels of positive mood predicted to fewer hospitalizations five years later and a lower incidence of stroke six years later.
THE EFFECT OF SOCIAL LIFE
The chicken egg problem also applies to studies on happiness and social relationships. Many cross-sectional studies show strong correlations between happiness and successful friendships, marriages, and family relationships. Longitudinal studies, however demonstrate that the tendency towards happiness precedes strong relationships. In other words, happy people are more likely to get married in the following years than those who did not. Some experts published a study to show that happiness levels predicted quality of marriage. Over a six – year period, people with higher levels of happiness earlier in the study were more likely to have a happy marriage later in the study.
THE EFFECT OF WORK LIFE
Research showed the same effect of happiness on our work life. Here too, most research is cross-sectional. Thus, at any given time people with high levels of positive mood tend to have better jobs, higher income, and more autonomous and meaningful work than less happy people. Obviously, the chicken-and-egg problem is relevant here as well. Certainly, many people have experienced the negative emotional effects of working at an unpleasant job at some points in their lives. Longitudinal research, however, shows that high levels of positive emotion early in life, predicts occupational and financial success many years later. A scientific study showed that college students who displayed more cheerfulness in their first year of college made more money sixteen years later than did their less cheerful counterparts. This effect was found regardless of family income. In fact, the effect was particularly pronounced with students from higher in-come families. Presumably, these students had fewer barriers to occupational success than students from lower in-come families. Consequently, their emotional state had that much more influence.
THE EFFECT OF OUR OWN CHOICES
Clearly our mood is not simply a function of our own personalities. We are also subject to the circumstances in which we find ourselves and the effects of our own choices. What kinds of things truly contribute to sustain happiness and which do not – The research on what makes us happy is far more complicated than the literature on the benefits of happiness- That is on what happiness does for us. The earlier happiness researchers were quite pessimistic about the degree of control we have over our own happiness, assuming that we can do little to affect our happiness in any sustainable way. Later researchers had a far more optimistic view. However, it suggests that our activities and circumstances can definitely impact our general level of happiness.
THE EFFECT OF ENGAGED LIFE
An engaged life involves the ability to invest in and make connections with work, intimate relationships, and leisure activities. In the engaged life we are not isolated individuals, floating on a self- imposed island of alienation, but rather we are actively engaged with the world around us. Experts believe that increasing the engagement involves identifying signature strengths –Our particular strengths and interests and then putting them to use. For example, people who are interested in art can take a painting class. Those who like animals can volunteer at an animal shelter
THE EFFECT OF MEANING LIFE
In meaning life, people use their signature strengths to commit and contribute to causes larger themselves. The particular cause does not matter and might include politics, religion, community service or family. In this way, people gain a sense of belonging to a larger group, cause, or institution and they enhance their sense of self- worth and life purpose. A series of studies shows the relationship between such commitments and life satisfaction. The importance of a meaningful life suggests that a life devoted to self – centered aims ultimately provides limited life satisfaction.
THE EFFECT OF GENETICS
In recent years happiness researchers have looked at several factors that may influence our level of happiness. More specifically, researchers have studied the contributions of genetics, demographic characteristics, interpersonal relationships, money, attitude towards life, and sense of control. Genetics probably contribute a fair amount to our general level of happiness to 50 percent according to a 2005 review. However, this figure should be considered with some caution. Most genetic studies use samples that do not vary dramatically in their environment or life circumstances. When the environments are familiar, the influence of genetics is heightened. When there is a broad range of environmental conditions, however, the role of genetics is less important. Therefore, because most genetic studies do not include samples from a wide range of environments, the importance of genetics may be exaggerated.
THE EFFECT OF LIFE CIRCUMSTANCES
According to this same review of the literature, life circumstances such as in-come, social status, and demographic characteristics (age, gender, and ethnicity) matter, but not as much as we might expect accounting for 10 to 20 percent of overall happiness scores. Estimates similar to this, have been reported in other happiness studies
THE EFECT OF INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIP
Supportive social relationships likely play a very important role in happiness, judging by many studies. This shows strong correlations between these two domains. There is also a body of literature attesting to the powerful effect of social support on our resistance to stress and physical illness, as well as our general well-being.
THE EFFECT OF ATTITUDE
Several lines of research point to the importance of the way we engage with life, in effect – Our attitude towards life. Experts suggest that 40 percent of our overall happiness depends on our active attempts to foster our own happiness through our thoughts, activities, and goals. This is positive psychology.
THE EFFECT OF MONEY AND LUXURY
Some research shows that people with higher in-comes are happier than those with lower in-comes. But other studies suggest that money has little effect on happiness. An ingenious 2006 study sheds some light on these confusing findings. In their views, the objective amount of financial resources is less important than the subjective perception of financial status. In a study of 719 twin pairs, scientists found that the perception of the financial circumstances- Whether they believed they had enough money, shows only a modest relationship with their actual in-come and assets. Likewise, their satisfaction with their life was far less related to actual prosperity than to perception of prosperity. In other words, the degree to which people felt satisfied with their life has less to do with how much money they actually had and more to do with their beliefs about how much money they had – The feeling that they had enough money.
Many wealthy people are little more than janitors of their possessions. Placing our happiness at the mercy of wealth and luxury tends to produce the opposite result. It makes us feel even more uncertain and insecure. We do not really want money or things. We only think we do. What we actually want is the underlying benefit that these objects represent. A thing is nothing more than a delivery vehicle for a quality or experience we seek. In wishing to have a private swimming pool, the surface reasons are to enjoy some qualities – The sun represents energy, vitality, and healing, the cool water represents relaxation and calmness, the privacy of it represents solitude and peacefulness. The environment represents beauty. In other words, a private pool represented vitality, health, calmness, solitude, peacefulness and beauty. The pool per se was not important.
There is a tremendous- amount- of researches proving that money and luxuries do not generate happiness. From a macro perspective; despite their incredible wealth, Americans are not happier than the West African Republic of Ghana. Separately published research findings conclude that although American standards of living have sharply increased since the early 1970s, their level of happiness has not risen at all. From 1981 to 2007, during the time of the greatest economic boom in the history of China, its national happiness levels have plummeted
At the individual level, a study tracked 12,000 people from their freshman year in college through their late thirties. Researchers found that those in the college who explicitly made – Getting rich- a key life goal were on average less happy fifteen years later than those with more uplifting goals. In only one study, researchers found those who are so poor that they cannot afford even the most basic things to survive – Food, clothing, and shelter. These report a relatively mild increase in their happiness levels when they are able to gain these minimal levels of wealth. Beyond that, neither incremental nor large jumps in in-come make much difference.
THE EFFECT OF FINDING PURPOSE
Many people have the wrong idea of what constitutes happiness. It is not attained through self – gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. No one believes that life is meaningless yet remains truly happy. We can perform all the happiness practices in the world, but if we do not believe that anything truly matters, we undermine their effectiveness. There is a tight interconnectedness between happiness meaning and purpose. The notion of studying meaning and purpose in a laboratory- setting is a relatively recent development. Nevertheless, there have been some critically important findings. A published study found that prior attempts to measure happiness or life satisfaction without accounting for the purpose in life and the potential for personal growth were incomplete. Happiness cannot properly be understood without exploring meaning as well. Additional research has found that people who have a greater sense of life meaning and purpose fare much better over the course of a life time, both psychologically and physically, than those who do not.
According to another study, an effective way to treat mental illness is to help patients find meaningful activities. Doing so mitigated and lessened symptoms. Meaning directly boosted immune systems. There is a tight correlation between happiness and meaning. Everyday happiness is to some degree, a by-product of meaning. That is not to imply that it is unimportant. Meaning and happiness are synergistic. Six different studies conducted by a team of researchers found that happiness helps people find meaning in their lives and that positive life outlook predispose us to feel that life is meaningful. In a related finding, happier, more positive people are more sensitive to seeing or discovering the meaning in difficult situations. The purpose of our lives is being and doing whatever creates a seamless fit between our internal selves and our external environment. Purpose is when we are in perfect harmony internally and externally. This is why purpose is unique to everyone. We have different challenges, outlooks, needs, skills, level of understanding to be learned. That is why no one can tell what specific life purpose is. We each must take all of our internal and external variables and decide that for ourselves.
THE VIRTUES OF HAPPY LIVING
. ACTS OF KINDNESS
The best portion in the life of a good man is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love. Man is by nature a social animal. As such, our relationships are extraordinarily important in our quest for meaning, happiness and bliss. Relationships not exclusively romantic ones but the entire spectrum, including family, friends, children, co-workers, pets, and even the casual relationships, we have with acquaintances and strangers. Learning to cultivate strong, positive relationships is vastly important for genuine happiness. If we do not understand the value of friendship, most especially how to be a friend to others, we are missing an essential human experience. Moreover, the ability to emanate kindness and develop positive relationships is a key indicator of our ability to attain and experience bliss. Learning how to cultivate kindness and warm relationship helps us to surrender our selfish desires, including the mistaken need for external rewards. Of course, when we learn to give without the need for or expectation of anything in return, the inevitable by-product is that we are certain to attract a large number of friends and all the attendant benefits
The scientific evidence that friendship, strong interpersonal relationships, and social support are key components of happiness and well-being is legion. Numerous studies demonstrated that we (catch) emotions from one another. Spending time around sad people tends to make us sad, while being around happy people cheers us up, hanging with angry people can provoke us to anger. Moods and emotions are constantly transmitted back and forth. Scientists discovered that we can catch the emotion of someone in as little as one second. And the stronger the mood, emotion, or disposition we are exposed to the more deeply we are affected. The proof that relationship matters a great deal comes from scientific studies that –
. The happiest subjects were those who sustained meaningful, healthy relationships with friends and families.
. A parallel study found that those with strong relationships of all kinds were much happier than those who did not have them, even if the members of the – loner group were far richer and had abundant resources to distract themselves.
. Very happy people are highly social and have stronger social relationships, more friends, and wider social net- works compared to unhappy people.
. Those with abundant social relationships are physically healthier.
. People with strong social net- works are generally more successful in business and at attaining life goals than those without.
. Happiness and friendship form a virtuous circle; being happy magnetizes friends to us, the more friends and warm relationships that we have, the greater our happiness.
POSITIVE ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCE
Environment is stronger than will-power. We live in and act through our physical environments. We do not have thoughts, feelings and experiences in a vacuum – They happen while we are interacting with the world around us. Our environment includes everything in our physical surroundings; objects, sights, sounds, smells, designs, an above all people. It includes where we live, the space in which we work, the music we listen to, the movies we watch, the objects we own, and even the clothes we wear. We are greatly influenced by our surroundings, whether we are consciously aware of it or not. It makes sense then that the environments we choose for ourselves go a long way towards influencing our happiness. Paying better attention to our physical environment and weeding out the negative occurrences before they happen give dividends. Learning to see our environment as vibrations of consciousness assists us in breaking our hypnotic spell of material objects and instills in us the powerful spiritual insight essential for bliss.
. The good news is that numerous studies demonstrate that merely looking at or immersing oneself in a natural environment greatly improves our moods, performance, and health.
. Subjects who spent time in nature compared to those confined to urban environments reported higher levels of happiness and well-being
. A different study found that stressed individuals do not need to immerse themselves in nature physically to feel better. Just looking at nature scenes boosted their feelings of affection, friendliness, playfulness, and elation. Those subjected to ugly urban scenes showed higher levels of stress and fear.
. Numerous studies have found that our geographical location including climate, environment and setting greatly affect our happiness
. Researchers found that we can radically improve the happiness of nursing home residents – Especially those who are agitated or dissatisfied by refining the visual, sound and olfactory environment including offering access out-doors. These small low-cost changes quickly and dramatically boosted the levels of well-being for seniors.
LOVE WITHOUT REASON
Love the animals love the plants, and everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every-day. And you will come, at-last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love. Love is the universal power of attraction. At the heart of all warm relationships is kindness and friendship. Kindness, friendship, and compassion are aspects of love. Developing our facility for kindness, warm relationships, friendship, empathy and compassion are virtually important steps toward feeling and expressing unconditional love.
The ability to feel and radiate unconditional love is deeply, profoundly, and inextricably tied to bliss. Scientists have found remarkable evidence that there exists a type of love that is physiologically different from romantic love. Unconditional love is the ability to feel love for another person regardless of the belief of that person, his actions, or responses toward us. This was first demonstrated spectacularly in a 2009 experiment conducted by one expert. He placed subjects in a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine (MRI) and looked at their brain activity as they were induced to feel different types of love when patients were instructed to feel unconditional love toward strangers with intellectual disabilities, entirely different neural net-works and area of their brains lit up than when they experienced other types of love. All told, seven distinct area of the brain lit up, in both hemispheres and in both the primitive and advanced parts of the brain.
Though the idea oy studying unconditional love in the laboratory is new, there are some other studies worth examining. Some scientists collaborated on researching the tremendous difference in out-comes between conditional love and unconditional love. Their early efforts concentrated on comparing two groups of children and young adults – Those who were raised with a sense that the love of their parents was conditional versus those children who received unconditional love no matter their behavior or accomplishments. The scientists discovered that parents who grant their love conditionally can indeed get their children to behave in certain ways in the short term. However, it comes at enormous cost. Not only are conditionally loved children more likely to resent their parents, eventually they are much more likely to rebel. Conditional love shatters the self-esteem of a child and sabotages his or her long-term capacity for happiness.
Love is the universal power of attraction. People showing love unconditionally to all and sundry abound with happy living and eternal bliss.
The only people really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve. Happiness and bliss are impossible without rendering selfless service to humanity. The inward truth of service is found not in its outward form but in the manner in which we serve. Small, private acts done with the right consciousness can be far more valuable to the doer, and even to humanity, than huge, public, grandiose projects done for the wrong reasons. Anything and everything we are doing can become our vehicle for selfless service. The key is to focus on what is happening inside us as we do it.
A scientific study compared those who spend most of their time and effort engaging in personal pleasure-seeking, versus those who engage in more meaningful activities. Those focused on less selfish activities were far happier than the self-focused ones. It is true that money could not buy happiness, but there is one way in which money can boost our happiness – Giving it away. According to one study, people who spent the entirety of an unexpected work bonus on themselves saw no boost in their happiness, whereas, those who gave away at-least some of it, either to charity or to spending directly on others, saw large boosts in their happiness.
THANKS FOR EVERYTHING
Gratefulness is the key to a happy life. For if we are not grateful, no matter how much we have we will not be happy because we will always want to have something else or something more. One of the fastest ways to turn around a negative mind-set is to practice gratitude. In some ways, gratitude represents the culmination of mindful awareness, optimism, and loving in the now moment. It helps us see the full spectrum of reality, while opening a clear pathway to higher states of bliss consciousness.
Two experts collaborated on seven different studies. In aggregate, these studies demonstrate that practicing gratitude increases happiness and well-being, improves relationships, enhances overall spirituality, and reduces materialistic attitudes and negative emotions such as envy. In 2009, a study enrolled twenty-six thousand people. Participants do quick and simple practices such as taking a few seconds to remember something good that happened to them in the last twenty-four hours or to remember something or someone for whom they felt gratitude. It did not have to be important even trivial things such as being grateful for a good cup of water. Two key points emerged –
. Participants showed a rapid and dramatic upward swing in their happiness
. The tasks were quick and easy. They did not require hours of intensive work or any kind of advanced skills. Gratitude is surprisingly powerful.
Researchers found that practising gratitude added genuine, truthful positivity to their view points, thereby preventing the practitioners from becoming wholly consumed by exclusively negative emotions. Gratitude reminded people of the complete range of human capabilities, and ideals including our positive traits. It counteracted our bias toward emphasizing, dwelling on, or remembering the negative.
Dogs are the role model for being alive. They unconditionally love. A dog runs to the door, greets the husband and very assertive when she wanted affection. She would come over, sit next to the person from whom she wanted affection, push her front leg under their arm if they were distracted or unresponsive and put her cold nose right on them until they petted her or snuggled with her. Dogs are models to help you shift your relationships in a positive or better direction. Be playful and creative with this one. Dog is your co-pilot. A dog can be better than a new relationship. The characteristics are –
. A dog never wants to know about every other dog you have had
. After a year, a dog is still pleased to see you.
. The later you are, the more pleased the dog is
. A dog never needs to examine the relationship
. A dog never criticizes
Relationships are the single most important source of human happiness. We depend on relationships as surely as we depend on air on average. Experts say –
. People who are married or living with some-one are happier than people who live alone.
. People who are close to their relatives are happier than people who are not.
. People who have close friends are happier than people who do not.
. People who get on well with colleagues are happier than people who experience friction at work.
. People who have pets are less stressed, longer-lived and happier than those who do not.
In one study, the survival rate for heart-attack patients was 28 percent higher if there was a pet in the house. The effects are so clear that many hospitals have animals that visit the patients. The curious thing is that all of the positive effects can also be achieved through loving, physical contact with other people. The fact that animals make such a clear difference is proof that we seldom get our human relationships right. Enjoy people as you enjoy your pet. Enjoy them for what they are. When you interact with animals, you have to learn to get rid of your negative emotions because animals can read you like a book.
A philosopher once said – To eat and drink without a friend is to devour like the lion and the wolf. Human Beings are also animals and need to touch and be touched. Why should we have less of this wonderful tonic than a dog does – We cover our bodies completely with clothes most of the time which already makes it difficult, and on top of that we have introduced restrictive social conventions, that we have now become afraid to touch one another is a disaster for happiness.
The amazing substance oxytocin which increases in your body when you stroke your pet is vital to your mental health and happiness. Actually, oxytocin binds you to whatever you are touching. In other words, if you want to feel bonded with someone and you want that person to feel bonded with you, touch them. The extraordinary role of Oxytocin began when you were born. It was responsible for contraction at child-birth and responsible for the milk flow from her breast. It was responsible for making her – Maternal, and your father – Paternal. It made your parents more likely to stick together and it was why they did not abandon you when you cried for the hundredth time a day. On top of all that, it helped your brain develop properly. Without it, some of your brain cells would have died. So, if it had not been for touch and Oxytocin, your life would have been very difficult.
FINDING EVERY-DAY HAPPINESS
Happiness can mean different things to different people. Happiness has several different components. The different types of happiness are –
. RELIEVE (FALSE HAPPINESS)
. EVERY-DAY HAPPINESS and
Numbness for many of us represents a positive step forward.
Pleasure; easy ones like sex, shopping, eating, travel, or otherwise pampering the body are a logical step. In addition, certain drugs such as gamma hydroxyl butyrate (GHB), Cocaine are used more for pleasure enhancement than for numbing. Seeking pleasure is not a successful long-term happiness strategy physiologically. Our body has clear limits to how much pleasure we can enjoy before it lapses back first into numbness, then even into full-blown agony. Not only is pleasure, too much of it irrevocably leads to severely negative consequences. Pleasure moves over us like a wave. The wave comes, gives us temporary peak experience or excitement, then recedes, leaving an equally severe depression in its wake. False happiness is that feeling we experience when we have temporarily fulfilled our desires. It is akin to the relief we feel after having scratched that itch that was driving us crazy. There is a moment, often fleeting, when we feel satiated. Our most recent desire has been fulfilled.
Every-day happiness is a genuine type of happiness – A legitimate and important stepping – stone on the way of bliss. This is the type of happiness that most psychologists dwell upon as our final goal – Working on those practices, activities, and states of being that bring us to every-day happiness and finally to the most desired bliss.
LEADING OTHERS TO THE DOOR
The story of Job is one of the most familiar tales in the Bible. The friends of Job may have been sincere in their efforts to help him, although from this perspective of time and religious values, they were less than encouraging. Their ideas were based not on the particular situations of Job, but on their own inflexible thinking processes. Job needed help from his friends but not that kind of help. Help from true friends who had undergone their own personal crises, along with professional counsel via therapy and perhaps medication, would have been invaluable to Job. It is important to do and say the correct things and avoid doing and saying the things that the friends of Job offered. Here is a list to remember when assisting friends in crisis –
. Do not say ‘’ I understand. ‘’ You cannot fully understand the inner turmoil of someone enduring a serious personal crisis. You may have acquired wisdom in knowing how to deal with the situation, and you should be prepared to offer it at the ideal time. But telling someone that you fully understand their current state of mind is not helpful to them.
. Do not suggest the person is over reacting. It is hurtful he will feel inadequate or angry or both. He may have been trying to suggest gathering courage and facing reality, or some other means of dealing with the situation. But it was also shockingly insensitive.
. Do not offer advice. In the midst of a personal crisis, the last thing anyone needs is unsolicited advice. People need only assistance in finding peace, and an opportunity to identify the next right thing to do.
The action and decisions you choose through life shape you. They define who you are and what you become and for the most part these decisions and actions are yours to make and take. This does not mean you are in total control of your life at all times. The world may bump against you with its own selfish needs and its sometimes- innocent acts, causing you to react in one way or another. And you make decisions. Sometimes your decisions are made without any awareness of the harm they may cause yourself and those around you
. Sometimes you know exactly what their impact will be. You can always do something to help – Simply by asking the question – What can I do to help – The question is worth repeating because it focuses the mind on something besides the problem.
RELEASING THE PAST
If you believe that feeling bad will change a past or future event, then you are residing on another planet with a different reality system. We unwittingly withhold happiness from ourselves by allowing past events \and feelings to intrude upon our present. Traumatic memories or negative emotions prevent us from feeling genuine happiness now. The day to day inflicts upon one another through family, friends, relationships, peers, business associates, and the like generate plenty of grist for the mill. When we dwell on the past, we see ourselves as the perpetrator, not the victim. Consequently, we feel the need to punish ourselves as atonement for past sins, as if we do not deserve happiness. Shame, guilt, anger, fear, and a host of negative emotions prevent us from discovering the bliss within. Our past becomes our own worst enemy.
Memory does not work like a photocopy machine, perfectly storing exactly what happened in unbiased detail. It is more impressionistic. We file away feelings, reconstituting them as needed in the present. These recollections are almost always flawed. More importantly, they are consciously biased toward remembering the negative. Researchers showed that a series of imagining positive, negative and neutral. They then tested their recall. The subjects overwhelmingly remembered the negative images best. They showed sub-standard abilities to remember the positive and neutral imagery, despite being shown an equal number of images in each category for the same amount of time.
Likewise, another study demonstrated that people give greater emphasis to negative events, objects and personal traits when retelling their life stories. A landmark study on same was published. Those memories can also intrude upon and contaminate our present, leading to skewed perceptions of the world around us. Research also showed that – People who ruminated on their past had much higher rates of depression than those who did not. Obsessing about our past creates emotional and functional deficiencies. Similar studies showed that the past increases our feelings of shame, or gilt, which in turn, can lead to higher incidences of depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and suicides, as well as serious health consequences caused by suppressing the immune system. These studies concluded that ceasing to dwell on the past leads to remarkable improvements in our happiness. Results from studies conducted in England also showed significant reduction in depression, anxiety, self-criticism, shame, inferiority and submissive behavior.
TIPS FOR HAPPY LIVING
. POSITIVE AFFIRMATION
It is essential to construct affirmations correctly. Otherwise they might not only be ineffective, they could even provoke the opposite response. Keep them short and specific. They will be easier to say and remember. Make them positive. Avoid negative phrasing. Affirm what you want, not what you do not want. Phrase them in the present tense. Remember, an affirmation is not a fact but a truth. Affirmations work on multiple levels. They help us exchange negative thoughts for positive ones. They help us make direct contact with both the subconscious and superconscious minds. The superconscious mind is the origin of bliss. The subconscious-ness is a repository for the thoughts, impressions and feelings that pass through our conscious mind. This is the first way in which affirmations help us. When performed properly, they tunnel down into our subconscious minds bringing order to the chaos and effectively replace negative thoughts, habits, feelings and impressions with positive ones. Use affirmations as a defensive weapon for when a negative thought, mood, or situation crops up, a positive affirmation can be used to counteract it.
The natures of men are alike. It is their habits that separate them. Simply put, habits are the supervisors of the actions we take and the actions we avoid. They help govern what we do and how effectively we do it. Habits are thoughts, emotions or actions that we have repeated frequently enough that they have become reflexive behaviors and performed without conscious thought. They can be good, bad, or neutral. They administer our choices as effectively as possible. Good habits make our lives easier. Bad habits hold our minds and behaviors in a vice grip of negativity, acting as obstacles to our happiness. Habits are learned behavior.
Scientists can actually see new habits being formed in the brain. They have observed that while we are first learning a new behavior, the prefrontal cortex area of the brain lights up. This is the most advanced part of our brain, where processes such as reasoning, decision making, setting goals and other cognitive functions are carried out.
Various studies agreed that bad habits can be reversed relatively quickly and that habits should be relatively easy to create or change. Relapses occur because a new habit is not given an opportunity to set properly, either by giving it enough time or repetitions. A secondary difficulty concerns how our brains respond to pleasure. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control our brains – The reward and pleasure centers. It enables us to identify rewards and take action to attain them. Intensely pleasurable experiences like alcohol, drugs, sex, certain foods, even shopping trigger its release, subsequently creating a reward circuit in the brain. This circuit registers intense experiences as important and creates lasting memories of it as pleasurable. That, in turn, subtly prompts us to do it again. The more we do, the stronger the urge becomes.
Another study demonstrated that the brain remembers conquered bad habits, in certain cases where bad habit created has not yet been fully erased. If we expose ourselves to situations that trigger that habit too soon after conquering it, it can reactivate. Most importantly, the process of creating habits require repetition. Sometimes we must repeat the very attempt itself again and again. Each time we try, we build strength. Our early efforts, even the failures, are never lost. They slowly build our awareness, concentrations, will-power and energy. Eventually we will succeed. The experiment conducted by some experts, listed out the following as –
Root out bad habit findings –
. Think about, identify, and write down all habits you can think of that are preventing you from achieving happiness
. Identify those habits that are helping you.
. Choose one habit that you are ready and are able to change right now.
. Reflect on the positive reasons you initially began the habit or anything good you originally hoped to gain through it.
. Think about new, positive ways to achieve this goal. Think of every positive activity that can replace the negative habit.
. Identify specific thoughts, feelings, circumstances or events that trigger your negative habit.
. Make a list or plan including everything that you feel is necessary for implementing the positive habit.
. Swear a vow to yourself, to God, your Higher Self, or whatever feels comfortable for you that you will do this.
The goal is the pursuit of happy living.
TAKE BABY STEPS and EXTERNALIZE EXPRESSIONS
Everything that is done in the world is done by hope. Sometimes changing how you express something can change the situation or the experience of it. For example, a couple could stop their oral argument and write down every -thing they want to say during the argument. That means, you can change the mode of expression used in some problem situation. Determine your usual mode of expression and switch to any other mode as an experiment. That is externalize any recurring, critical, or torturous thoughts, memories, or voices by writing them out or putting them into some other external form.
Habit is habit and not to be flung out the window by any man but coaxed downstairs a step at a time. This suggestion is simple. Identify something you have been procrastinating about or that you are having trouble with. Break whatever you need to do into smaller pieces or chunks of time and make progress on it every-day. Chip away limiting habit.
STRETCH YOUR BRAIN
It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before, to test your limits, to break through barriers. And the day came when the risk, it took, to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom. Recent research has reported that learning new things as you age can help prevent mental deterioration and senility. Find something that you want to know more about or learn how to do that seems like a stretch to you, and spend time regularly (every-day, every-week, every-month). This is pushing yourself to engage in the learning process. Find teachers or mentors in your area of interest or just plunge in and get started, being willing not to know and to make mistakes. This is how to keep young at heart and you feel happier as you do. Reclaim territory from fear.
When you discover you are riding a dead horse, dismount. When you continue to be frustrated as you repeat personal or relationship patterns, do the opposite of what your instincts or feelings initially tell you to do. Do not be too wise in your own eyes. Get some tips from experts.
Reclaim territory from fear. Fear is like one of those electric fences they put around a yard to keep a dog in. The change tip is to free your-self from the restrictions of fear by reclaiming territory from fear.
Change perspectives. If you want truly to understand something, try to change it. Get a different perspective on a problem situation. Sometimes we get stuck with one view of the situation, which does not help us resolve it, get through it, or feel very good about it. Try one of the following tips to see if it makes a positive difference. Think of the most optimistic person you know. How would he or she view this situation – Think of the most effective problem-solver you know; How would he or she view this situation – If it were five years from now, how you think you would be viewing this situation –
ENJOY YOUR FOOD and ACCEPT EXCEPTION
Be a not know it all. When we eat for pleasure, we get more out of the food nutritionally. Researchers proved that people absorb more nutrients from food that they enjoy eating. What might this mean for you and some small change you make, Instead – of eating on the basis of some food rules, try eating something you really like for one meal a day without guilt and with pleasure and enjoyment.
Accept exception. Nature provides exceptions to every rule Search for and notice exceptions. We sometimes get trapped in certainty, in both our points of view and in our actions. One way to challenge this certainty, to ensure it is still up-to-date, and helpful, is to search for and notice exceptions. Every time you have a particular thought, express a particular belief, or act in some typical way, think to yourself, or not; or accept when it is not that way; or except when I do not or except when I AM NOT THAT WAY; OR THINK OF AN EXCEPTION TO THIS RULE OR REGULARITY. Or try doing something in your not-typical way, but rather in a way that is exception to the rule.
Be not – Know it all. Whenever you are certain of something but things are not going well, embrace not knowing and instead become uncertain. Especially challenge those long-held immutable truths and beliefs. And say ‘’Maybe so; perhaps not”’.
SILENCE CAN BE GOLDEN
Adopt the nicest NO. Speech is conveniently located midway between thought and action, where it often substitutes for both. The universe does not make anything without a purpose. Be silent and think about it. When you finally speak, you will have lots to say and find your purpose for living in those silent years. Try the experiment. Be silent for a day – Longer if you can swing it – and no distractions, if you can manage that as well. Just be with yourself in silence. You wonder what you will discover, if anything. You will wonder what will change as a result, if anything
Silence can be golden. Learn to say ‘’NO’’. It will be of more use to you than to be able to read Latin. Find the nicest and kindest ways to say no, and practice using at least one of them. If necessary, ask others you know who seem to be good, at saying no in the kindest and most firm ways and model them or get them to tell you how they think about saying no and how they go about it.
USE POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE MODELS FOR HARD THINGS
Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Try to do a little bit of the hardest task you have to do; something you have been avoiding, something that is a bit beyond you or is confusing. Something you hate to do but know you need to get done. You might choose some bottleneck task that could move you forward on some long-standing goal or dream. You might choose something that will begin to complete some unfinished business or let you move on from something or someone. Think hard. Get going. You have nothing to lose but a little time and some psychic detritus. Use positive or negative models
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. The great thing about human beings is that we do not actually have to go through – learning experiences personally. Recently scientists have identified – Mirror neurons that seem to fire off in our own brains when we observe others doing something. Therefore, we can learn by observing and attending to others. This is why, despite our best efforts not to reproduce the worst of what we saw our parents do when we were children, we often end up acting exactly the way they did. But, of course, not every- one does this. Some people who had harsh and critical parents become loving and supportive parents.
One of the implications of this is to be careful what you model and whom you observe carefully. There are two kinds of models; positive ones and negative ones. The positive ones are those you want to emulate, who exhibit behaviors and beliefs that you would like to incorporate into your own life. The negative ones are those whose ways you want to avoid. This tip involves deliberately focus in on both kinds of mirrors. Spend some time doing the following while going about your everyday life. Find someone who does something well that you would like to be able to do. Observe them carefully and as often as you can. This person may only be accessible through books or articles, and while that may work, it is best if you can get physical access to direct observation, since what people say is not always the same as what they do. Observe where they put their attention. Observe their body movements. Observe the tone of voice they use. Observe how they interact with others, how they manage their time, how they deal with difficulties or set-backs, and anything else you notice. Then do the same with negative models. These are people who do not act the way you want and determine from them what you do not want to do or be like.
FINDING BLESSINGS IN PAIN OR PROBLEMS
Man, never made any material as resilient as the human spirit. Ask yourself – How could this situation, as hard and painful as it is, turn out to be a blessing in disguise – Live in this question for a while. Your first answer may not be the best or final one. Life is a grindstone. Whether it grinds us down or polishes us up depends on us. Expect things to be as they are and you will be happy. When you are upset, it is only because your expectations have not been fulfilled and you are demanding that reality be as you want it to be rather than how it is. So, expect things to be as they are and you will be happy.
Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers. Sometimes when we experience trouble, we give ourselves more grief and trouble by asking the wrong questions. Some examples may lead to self-torture, or at least not help us resolve problems. Here are a few suggestions for questions that might serve you better –
. Is this where I want to put my energy or attention – If not, where would I rather focus my attention or energy –
. Is there anything I can do about this right now –
. If so, what is the first step I will take – If not how can I come to accept and make peace with what I cannot change right now –
. What do I have to do to make more the way I want it to be –
. What do I need to stop doing in order to have things be more the way I want them to be?
REORIENT TO GRATITUDE
The world is going through a challenging time economically. When you get dis-satisfied or find yourself complaining to yourself or others, reorient to the things for which you are grateful.
. I live in a house.
. I am not in fore closure
. I have friends and family who love me and whom I love.
. I have hot and cold running water.
. I have a car.
. I have clean and nice clothes.
. I have good health and the ability to move easily.
. I am not in pain.
You will find that wishes of good feelings or at least contentment come to you as you reorient. Of- course your list might be different from the ones above. Try this and find out whether it makes a positive difference for you.
You are destined to be happy. Claim this. Happy living ushers in bliss – the ultimate.
BLISS; THE ULTIMATE OF HAPPY LIVING
. The Nature of Bliss
The mistakes that we all make to varying degrees include; pursuing wealth, sex, romance, power, fame, and or beauty. We know that one thing they have in common is their external nature. There is another thing, even more fundamental. They are powerful forms of desire.
Desire is defined as that feeling or emotion which is directed to the attainment of some object from which pleasure or satisfaction is expected. It is to want or wish for something to happen, characterized by a sense of craving. When we desire something, our sense of longing is excited by thoughts of potential enjoyment that we believe we will experience if we can fulfill it. As such, our desire stimulates us to take whatever action necessary to achieve our goal. This may sound good. Certainly, it seems so normal, even stitched into the very fabric of what it means to be human. We believe that our desires animate us; they are what makes us unique, even interesting, and will carry us toward the highest fulfillment. In truth, every desire, no matter how common. Happiness, purpose, and truth inhibit us from discovering the bliss within. Desires of all kinds are the enemy of bliss.
All scientific researches on DESIRE explore the consequences of striving for specific things – Money, sex, romance, beauty, and power. In every case, it was discovered that they failed to make us happy. A fundamental study used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging to look at the brains of subjects. They showed the pictures of volunteers; the events, objects, and persons. These are three kinds of things humans can desire. They attempted to determine which parts of the brain are activated in the presence of desire and if different types of things triggered different parts of the brain. According to the results, all forms of desire, even those that might appear dissimilar, activated the same three areas. That is, there appears to be only one, unified desire system.
Another study showed that emotions like desires for food, alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and playing sports triggered biologically similar mechanisms. These studies are critically important. They suggested strongly that anything and everything that LIGHT UP our desire system is likely to produce the same kinds of positive and negative rewards. Secondly, there is no type of desire, likely to produce long-term satisfactory outcomes.
Researchers also found that the same brain structures that meditate pleasure and desire also participate in feelings of fear. The amount of stress placed upon subjects determines whether the neurons read the sensation as POSITIVE DESIRE or NEGATIVE FEAR. That is, we experience desire and fear as psychological opposites. This means that positive desire and negative emotion are two sides of the same coin, sharing the same chemicals and neural pathways.
Most important of all, scientists concluded that all desires are simultaneously rewarding and painful. At the same moment that we relish our hopes of future fulfillment, we also become acutely aware that we currently lack that thing in our lives. This creates what researchers called a state of – Exquisite torture. Simply put highlighting a lack or emptiness inside us.
It is good to be plain happy, it is a little better to know that you are happy; but to understand that you are happy and to know why and how and still be happy. To be happy in the being and the knowing is beyond happiness. That is bliss. Bliss is difficult to describe. Like most profound experiences, it transcends language. It is not easy. Language by nature is limiting, proscribed, and literally definite. All words have a definition. Bliss is an intrinsically infinite experience, because it is so vast, boundless, and immeasurable that it encompasses every possible word or definition ever invented.
Bliss is a genuine state of consciousness different from NORMAL, EVERYDAY consciousness, objectively better. Various studies of some experts have shown that people who can access these states of consciousness are –
. More likely to have higher moral development and hold positive values
. More at peace with death and dying
. Less likely to think of committing suicide
. Less likely to relapse into addiction,
. Less tense and stressed
. More successful and able to out- perform those who do not have such experiences in everyday real-world tasks; and
. Happier, better adjusted, and have a stronger sense of life meaning and personal purpose.
GO APE IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS and ADOPT DELIBERATE MEDIOCRITY
It is weird. People say they are not like apes. The basic idea is that we often get into trouble in relationships when we use words and misunderstand one another. When there is trouble in a relationship or you want to communicate something emotional, restrict yourself to using only methods available to apes. The approach softens as opposed to arguing or talking about it. Use nonverbal ways of communicating when things get tough. So, get creative. Go ape in a good way. Test it out and find out what happens
Some men are born mediocre men, some achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. People who put pressure on themselves – Perfectionistic, or who tend to be self-critical should give themselves a break by choosing to spend a ‘’mediocre day’’. To do this, just operate at only 60 percent of your capacity all day, deliberately choosing to be mediocre. Try this and live happily thereafter.
THE BLISS EXPERIMENT
The bliss experiment puts it all together – The inspiration, the science, and the common sense it takes to dedicate ourselves to a life of joy. For those who are ready to choose smiles instead of tears, this book is really great. Blissful fulfillment and well-being is made accessible to everybody. The organic essence of every individual is existence in bliss and this can become our natural way of living. We already have within us all the causes of bliss. If you are seeking to discover peace and joy in these historic and challenging times, the bliss experiment provides the essential knowledge and tools. Read this book and understand how to uncover greater happiness, awareness, and spiritual success within yourself. Happiness is good, bliss is better. We have a higher standard of living and more ways to instantaneously fulfill every desire than ever before. Happiness alone is fleeting and not deeply transformative. Bliss is a spiritual state where happiness, profound meaning, and truth abound. With bliss comes, an unshakable joy, practical wisdom, and a lasting solution to our personal and planetary sufferings. Bliss helps with stress, anxiety, and depression. It makes people more successful, better able to see and seize opportunities, and build or improve relationships.
COMPLETING THE JOURNEY
All humanity problems stem from our inability to sit quietly in a room alone. Bliss has positive ramifications far beyond personal fulfillment. The bliss seeker helps to share and spread inner peace and lasting joy with as many people as possible, doing whatever he can to uplift humanity. Both positive and negative emotions actually spread like contagious diseases through net-works of people. One of the best antidotes to the misery we see around us is for each of us to become emissaries of bliss and then share that bliss with others. No man is an island. A large body of research shows that our feelings and emotions, both positive and negative, are highly contagious. Whatever we are feeling, we pass along to others – Just as we absorb what others are feeling. Both our misery and happiness greatly affect others.
A study conducted by experts, demonstrated that conclusively, that – The happiness of people depends on the happiness of others with whom they are connected. This provides further justification for seeing happiness like health as a collective phenomenon. We transfer our happiness to both people with whom we interact directly and to people we have not met. When we feel happy, chances are that a friend of a friend of ours will feel happier too.
Scientifically, a large study enrolled twenty-six thousand people throughout Great Britain. Participants were asked to perform a variety of happiness practices, including gratitude, smiling more, performing acts of kindness, and so forth. It goes without saying that those who participated reported a boost in their happiness levels. More interestingly is that after both before and after people did the practices the researchers randomly surveyed thousands of British across the country who did not perform happiness practices themselves and asked them to report on their well-being. These non-participants reported a 7 percent boost in their happiness, although they did not know why. The authors of the study posited that the twenty-six thousand citizens who actively practiced happiness were able to lift the overall happiness level of the entire population of Great Britain.
In conclusion, what are we waiting for? It has been scientifically shown that Happy Living and Bliss Practices have been proven to reduce aggression and violent behavior among convicted criminals, as well as rescue race-division rates and helps convicted criminals improve their post-prison lives. And studies have found that Happy Living engages people in more prosocial behaviors than unhappy people do. Compared to unhappy living, happy living people are –
. More altruistic and serviceable
. Less likely to commit crime
. More ethical
. Less racist and race conscious
. More open-minded
. Less likely to abuse illegal drugs
. More productive workers, and
. More creative and demonstrate better problem-solving skills
Finally, it should be noted that people living happily are more functional and emotionally resilient in times of crises. When things are going very badly in a given family, in a group, in the society at large, happier people are more likely to respond better to adversity. What are you waiting for – Live happily here on Earth and enjoy your everlasting bliss yonder. All these have been scientifically proven.
Most researchers are more interested in the effects of chronic happiness, or the ongoing propensity to experience positive mood, than in the immediate effects of a momentary happy feeling. Happiness researchers believe that positive emotions signal to us that we are in good shape. Our needs are being met, we have adequate resources and we are reaching our goals. Positive emotional states also encourage people to engage with the environment, to seek out and take on new goals. We can contrast the effects of positive emotions with those of negative emotions. These emotions signal to the individual that something is not right, that the environment is not safe and that the best course of action is withdrawal and avoidance. Because happiness is a subjective state, the only way to directly measure happiness is to ask people how they feel. There may be physiological indications of positive mood, such as low levels of stress hormones, but there are no objective measures of happiness per se. The science of Happy Living has convincingly shown us the necessity to possess this inheritance toward claiming the everlasting bliss – the final goal.
LIST OF REFERENCES –
Sean M-e-s-ho-r-e-r (The Bliss Experiment, 28 Days to Personal Transformation)