We have the apparatus to be happy, says Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness.
His study found is that our frontal lobe helps us create a psychological immune system to fabricate happiness anytime we want. What are the applications of this study for us chasing happiness everyday of our lives?
Happiness is not linked to outcomes. “Happiness is not a thing to be found,” says Gilbert. It doesn’t matter if you get this particular job or find that particular relationship. Any other possible outcome can make us feel as happy as the one we really focused on in the first place.
The wisdom here is that changing goals or taking a different route from the one you envisioned would not make you less happy.
Or we could say that atttachment and ungrounded expectations could lead to unnecessary disappointments. Having a more relaxed view of things and of life in general, and having flexibility will surely lead to more happiness.
Having too much freedom to choose or change, says Gilbert is the enemy to happiness. This is definitely a shocking revelation, right? But it is exactly what this study found. Our psychological immune system works best when you have limited choices, for example when we are married. So if you are married and feel unhappy, maybe you could reconsider your happiness quotient, work on your marriage, add a few more grateful things to the situation, and change your view about the alternative options to more happiness.
The idea however of reducing your options frees you to make better choices with less stress and can, in fact, lead to greater fulfillment.
Another point the author makes is that having too much ungrounded passion and ambition in life can lead to disastrous results. I think that we can find plenty of examples in all walks of life to demonstrate this statement. But the main point here is that nothing in life is as important as keeping your integrity intact. Anytime you have to lie or cheat, or compromise your values, you are taking the risky road of becoming unhappy.
When we understand that happiness is not a goal or a thing but originating in our own physiological makeup, we can empower ourselves to lead fulfilling and rewarding lives.This is a very wise study supporting the idea that we create our own happiness.
If the universe can spring out of nothingness, maybe our whole being can spring out of the thoughts we form in our minds. As we change our thought processes, we are constantly reshaping and retraining our minds, leading to feeling better overall.
Thoughts are charged with emotions. They carry power. They can bring healing, or they can make feel depressed. They can put a smile on your face or they can send you into a downward spiral. They can uplift someone or they can crush someone.
Challenge negative self-talk
Become aware when you are not kind to yourself because it affects your overall energy. Every time you put yourself down, your energy level goes down and you start feeling off. Start elevating yourself with good and upbeat thoughts. Pay attention to the language you use when you talk to yourself. Positive thoughts will bring more gratitude, more positivity, more acceptance and satisfaction to your life.
Focus on the positives in your life.
Validate yourself!!! Stop for 10 seconds what you are doing and write or say 10 positive things about your life and yourself. Acknowledge the beauty of your experiences, or reflect on the lessons you are receiving. That is beautiful in itself.
Hmm, things and people are interesting… Life is full of possibilities. So when we shift to a place of curiosity, our critical voice diminishes. We observe and notice, without judging.
Meditate to shift your thoughts
Color creates a certain mood in you. So next time you are about to be really hard on yourself or someone else, mediate in silence and give yourself a healing bath of meditative color to shift your thoughts instantaneously.
The famous author Caroline Myss says that “people are hungry for the sacred.”
Once, people in masses went to churches to reflect and to connect with a force stronger than themselves, one that brought them relief and peace and hope.
“Religion is part of the human make-up. It is our first attempt at cosmology, making sense of where we are in the universe, our first attempt at health care, believing in faith healing,” writes Christopher Hitchens.
Whatever the Gods represent for you, quantum intelligence or a divine intelligence, we need the humility the sacred brings into our lives to make sense of our illogical human existence. I heard one of the victims of the California fires say “only gratitude matters going forward.”
Collectively we need more inspiration, more beautification and purification of our characters, our personalities, our souls, and our energies.
We are a sacred temple, and everyone on earth is a sacred temple. Together we make one sacred tribe. We walk on sacred earth, and we desperately need to accept ourselves as sacred beings. No shift in collective consciousness will ever happen if we don’t welcome back this basic truth.
We need to respect the sacred each one of us has decided to pursue; it is the right one for you at this point of your human evolution.
The true sacred inside of us doesn’t wage wars, doesn’t wish bad things to people, doesn’t look down at other sacred beings.
When you are feeling stressed, bring to mind the image of a sacred space, feel the peacefulness and the tranquility of sacredness inside of you. Respect, devotion and faith are a part of who you are.
In my yoga class this morning, blessings were sent to my body, my friends, the people all over the world who are suffering and lacking peace. Send blessings to your own body, and your own friends, and all other places you wish to send some sacredness and healing
I would like to take you into the world of the placebo and show you how powerful a thought or a belief can be in making you feel better.
Imagine participating in a surgery trial where there is a 50% chance that you will receive a fake surgery. You are made to believe that your surgery is real and that an actual surgeon performed the surgery on your spine. Miraculously, you feel better after the surgery despite the fact you were in the fake pool, but you don’t know it.
“It appears that the mere belief that patients had received a potent treatment was enough to ease-and in some cases banish-their symptoms,” says Joe Merchant about this real spine surgery study in her book Cure.
This is one example of the placebo effect and the power of belief to improve and make our health better. The Italian neuroscientist Fabrizio Benedetti, who is the biggest expert on placebo in the world, thinks that placebo can be applied in all areas of life from sex to music, writes Merchant. Maybe just by believing that the music is wonderful, its effects on us will be more powerful in terms of positive emotions and experience.
Beneditti’s team in Italy is conducting real studies on the placebo effect, and measuring the role belief plays in improving symptoms. Let’s say you take a drug and you feel better after taking it. The kind of questions they would be asking are: Is the improvement due to the medication you took or your belief that you took the medication? And it looks like this can be measured through clinical trials, according to Merchant’s research.
The placebo has been proven to work for a variety of psychiatric disorders like anxiety and depression. The more we know that we are taking the medication, the stronger the effect. For example, Joe Merchant says that Benedetti has discovered that Valium, which is an old drug for psychiatric disorders, has no effect unless patients know that they have taken it. Studies show that some painkillers are effective only if we know that we have taken them. If we don’t know that we took them, they don’t work.
When scientists discovered endorphins- the brain’s natural painkillers, it became natural to inquire if taking a placebo triggers the release of endorphins in the brain. And they have discovered that it does. This is how the science of the placebo was born. There is a mapped out neuro-chemical mechanism occurring after taking a placebo.
A study at the University of British Columbia discovered that when a placebo medication is given to patients with Parkinson’s, physiological changes do occur in the body, as dopamine levels increase significantly. In some trials involving Parkinson’s disease patients, the placebo effect has been shown to have the same effect as a response to a real drug.
So something interesting is going on in our bodies, and probably by extension, to our external realities, when our minds are focused on sending a positively charged belief and thought. At least scientifically, the placebo effect has been proven to reduce symptoms of patients and improve the quality of their lives. So let’s ponder on that, and when you feel down, think of the placebo and how you can apply it to your own life to turn things around. Hmm, something to consider today for everyone. As I’ve heard Joe Dispenza say, we are the placebo effect.
Source: Jo Merchant, Cure: a journey into the science of mind over body, 2016
It is a beautiful summer outside and most of us will see our parents and relatives during vacation. These happy moments might awaken within us some deep and uncomfortable unconscious issues. It is possible that some of us might feel a bit unbalanced after our times with family. It is because it is very hard, for most of us, to stay in our personal power in the presence of family.
I would like to share with you a small meditation to reclaim your personal power after you see your family. If you feel apprehensive even before the visit, you can use this meditation as medicine to prep for the visit, and also to stay centered, while you are there and afterwards.
I suggest that you trust the first insights that come to you during this quick meditation. Sense, perceive and feel the symbols, the images, the colors and the textures that might come to you during this relaxation. Also, use intentionality to make changes in perception.
CLOSE YOUR EYES AND START BREATHING. Relax your shoulders, your neck, and drop your emotional energy from your whole body towards the earth, and start sinking under the pull of gravity to mother earth. Drop a connection from your lower body to the earth and feel interconnected with the vastness of the earth.
Imagine that you are sitting on the beach and the waves are coming and going. Feel the peaceful energy of the summer air and bring that into your body. Slow down your body with the shimmering blue of the ocean. Use intention to entrain with the color and the vibration of the ocean.
Sink in even deeper. Call your life force energy to you. See it as a color or a symbol, and gift your body with your life force energy. Be full of your life force. Be in your power.
Now put your awareness on your heart and ask your heart where and to whom you are losing personal power. Take a moment to identify the experiences and people that weaken your life force energy the most. Notice the type of exchanges you have with them. If you feel like you have been losing your power, ask yourself why you are giving permission to that event or person, to take your power away.
Ask your heart what you need to do to always feel your full power when you are with these people.
Use your intention to separate your person power and agency from the power of the people draining it. Feel free to sense that separation in your own way. Just intend for it to happen and create healthy, nurturing boundaries.
If you need to forgive anyone, do so right now. If you feel the need, have a silent conversation with your parents or relatives. Tell them how you would like the relationship to change going forward. Just state your wish, and present it to them in silence, let them know your new vision for a happy relationship.
Now recall a moment when you felt in your full power. Remember how it felt. Go back to that moment and try to bring that feeling to awareness.
Be a balloon full of your best self. Draw a healthy boundary around your body. Feel the excitement of this new you, and show it to the people you love.
Become grateful for bringing more acceptance and understanding into your life!