Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Happiness: An Irresistible Pursuit from “The Undefeated Mind”

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We actually have as little choice about wanting to become happy as the heart does about pumping blood. We’re incapable of wanting not to become happy. The pursuit of happiness isn’t merely an inalienable right with which we’re endowed or an activity we’re capable of choosing; it’s psychological law we must obey.

 


Even people who appear to want nothing to do with happiness, like those so immersed in self-hatred that their principle aim becomes self-sabotage, will say they haven’t lost their desire for happiness so much as ceased to believe they deserve it.

 

Similarly, people suffering from severe depression who seek their own destruction typically do so only to escape the pain they’re feeling, not because they no longer want to be happy.

 

 

They may no longer believe they can be happy and therefore stop behaving as if they want to be, but that’s because depression often leads to a state of learned helplessness (once convinced that happiness is no longer possible, continuing to take action toward it becomes next to impossible).

 


Just as the heart’s function continues to be the pumping of blood even when it starts to fail, our minds aim toward happiness even when they appear to stop seeking it or even wanting it.

 

 

Whether we want this to be true or even realize it is makes no difference. Like the heart, our minds are built a certain way to perform a certain function we can’t change, one that by virtue of our sentience and self-awareness we just happen to be able to perceive.

 


But if happiness is indeed our primary function, why is it so difficult to achieve?

 

 

Perhaps for at least two reasons. First, because merely desiring happiness more than anything else doesn’t itself teach us how to achieve it.

 

 

And as we’re all capable of believing things without evidence, many of our beliefs about what makes us happy will simply turn out to be wrong. How many of us, for example, consider happiness to lie in the unmitigated pursuit of pleasure?

 

 

Certainly pleasure plays an important role in contributing to happiness, but to appreciate how an existence can be overflowing with pleasure and still be miserable we only need look at people for whom certain pleasures (sex, gambling, drugs, and so on) send all other considerations spinning off into the distance and often cause the collapse of the very lives they delight.

 

 

Further, too much pleasure can be paradoxically unpleasant (a few jelly beans are delicious, but too many make us sick), something happiness, by definition, can never be.

 

Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson: Reciprocal Inhibition

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“Some parts of the brain are linked by reciprocal inhibition: when one part activates, it suppresses another one.

 

To some extent, the left and right hemispheres have this relationship; thus, when you stimulate the right hemisphere by engaging the activities it specializes in, the verbal centers of the left hemisphere are effectively shushed.

 

The right, visual-spatial hemisphere has the greater responsibility for representing the state of your body, so awareness of the body can help suppress left-brain verbal chatter.

 

 

“Right hemisphere activation increases further when you sense the body as a whole, which draws upon the global, gestalt processing of that hemisphere.”
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My two cents: Meditation/Mindfulness practice activates the right hemisphere, thus suppressing our cognitive engine, our verbal centers and our created “Ego”.

 


We practice to build focus, to reach our right hemisphere for a precious few seconds. With practice we deepen and build longer and longer durations of peace and calm.

 

 

There is no way of knowing the benefits of meditating without actual intense practice, reading a book or taking a class changes nothing.

 

 

Meditation is not an intellectual commodity, it takes action, practice, sitting alone with your demons.

 


When we surrender to our fears, enormous opportunity appears.
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Applying Meditation/Mindfulness, using the focus we have built

 

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Happiness exists in only one time zone, this present moment, now.   Happiness does not exist in the past or future.

 

 

That means staying present, being acutely aware of our surroundings without judgment is the goal.

 

 

Check in as often as you can during the day. Focus, take three deep breaths and come back to now, then smile.  It’s working.

 


If we placed all our energy today on this task, opportunity may arrive.

 

 

You may see how much time we waste meandering in thought and connected emotion.

 

 

I still find myself in one of my childhood fantasies, World Series, bottom of the ninth, two outs, bases loaded and I am at bat.

 

 

It is far better than a trauma memory or a negative emotion but it takes me away from now.

 


Now, is what we need.

 


Three letter word changes life, completely. All those worries, doubts and fears fade, leaving us with precious time and energy.

 

 

The mind can be trained to go slow and empty itself of thought with daily focus and application.

 

 


Not a huge effort, but a specialized, specific type of focus and exploration.

 

 

Start your journey with ten minutes a day.
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5 Things Happy People Consistently Do By John D. Moore, PhD

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Happiness can be a habit

 

Do what happy people do if you want to feel good. Joyful individuals behave in certain ways, avoiding some actions and embracing others. When you stop doing what makes you feel bad and do more of what improves your mood, you’ll be happy too.

 

1. Avoid procrastination

Procrastination increases stress and won’t make you happy. The most satisfied people in the world get on with tasks, especially those they dislike. They know they will be relieved when jobs are complete and not have to worry about them.

Carry out chores you hate early in the morning when you have the most energy. As a result, you’ll feel liberated from burdens and free to enjoy the rest of the day with a smile.

 

2. Build gratitude
Happy people aren’t just grateful; they develop gratitude with positive thoughts. They count their blessings, making themselves hyper-aware of the abundance in their lives. Likewise, they appreciate the little gems of life around them, like rainbows and wildlife.

Generate happy thoughts by focusing on gratitude. List the prosperity available to you, including shelter, food, love, and anything else that pops into your head. Also, spend at least ten minutes appreciating positive aspects of your day.

 

3. Exercise
Get moving! Stagnation, also known as sitting for too long, causes ill-health. Exercise increases feel-good chemicals. Happy people are active. They might also rest, but they don’t loll on the couch for long periods.

Go to the gym. Attend exercise classes. Or take a stroll. Walking each day improves physical and emotional health. For added benefits, exercise outdoors; nature calms the soul. It reduces stress, increasing room for joy.

 

 

4. Quit worrying
Everyone worries, but people who are always happy know when to stop. They understand worrying makes them ill and doesn’t solve problems. Your unhappiness will increase if you worry, so learn how to quit.

When troubling thoughts arise, shift your focus. Don’t dwell on problems that run through your mind and make them grow. Studies show distraction and positive thinking lessen worries. Happy people combine the two by entertaining themselves with upbeat thoughts.

 

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More Than Chemicals: The Difference Between Pleasure and Happiness By John DiPrete

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The experience of pleasure is distinct from the experience of happiness. Quite distinct.


With pleasure, a dopamine “spike” occurs in response to an acute momentary reward. The experience feels wonderful but depletes serotonin. The ultimate consequence of repeated rushes to this pleasure center leads to the loss of dopamine receptors in the brain. With the loss of neurons comes Tolerance: a situation in which more and more “hits” are needed to feel the same impact as before — or to feel anything at all. The result is addiction.


The dopamine neuron, or pleasure receptor, is identical in most pleasure centers; its exploitation in one addiction is often transferred to another (usually in the same individual). This is called Addiction Transfer. Transfers of addiction are epidemic in all kinds of substance abuse (such as opiates, sugar, alcohol, etc.) as well as digital obsessions (porn, Facebook, selfies, etc.). A person addicted to amphetamines, for example, becomes more susceptible to cocaine addiction.

 

In contrast to pleasure, happiness is a more resilient and healthier mental state. The long-term components of happiness are found in Connection, Contribution, and Coping. (Coping consists of three things: Sleep, Mindfulness, and Exercise.) The fourth component, Cook, means increasing nutrients such as tryptophan and omega 3 fatty acids, while reducing fructose or sugar.

 

Examples of these qualities (and tips related to them) are provided by Dr. Robert Lustig, an Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco, who has explored the differencesbetween pleasure and happiness…

 


Connection. Connection is not about Facebook or personal text messages. It’s about real people in real communities. Making friends. Volunteering. Joining a choir. Contribution is not about rewards or merit badges. It’s about meaningful work, helping others, or accomplishing something (like volunteering).

 


The third component, Coping, is about Sleep, Mindfulness, and Exercise.

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A few Choices during the day.

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Desire or Gratitude?

Choose gratitude.

 

 


The past, present or future?

Choose this present moment.

 

 


Being sedentary or taking action?

Choose action.

 

 

 

Giving, taking or receiving?

Choose giving.

 

 

 

Simple or complex?

Choose simple.

 

 

 

Taking responsibility or victim hood?


Responsibility is our only choice!
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Our Blind Force: “DESIRE”

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“Everyone would agree that desire is natural and plays an essential role in helping us to realize our aspirations.

 

But desire is only a blind force that in itself is neither helpful nor harmful.”

Matthew Ricard
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My two cents: We have erroneously judged many things to contain happiness, that only offer momentary pleasure or avoidance of blame.

 

We think praise from others contains happiness! We think criticism damages our soul.

 

 

Neither has anything to do with happiness. External stimuli does not decide our wellbeing.

 


Nothing external can reach our spirit, our soul.

 

 

Victor Frankl came out of Auschwitz and wrote “Man’s Search for Meaning.”

 


The human spirit, our soul can find meaning in the worst of conditions.

 


The human spirit can also find suffering in the best of conditions.

 

 

It is our choice to find purpose and meaning out of the only life we have.
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