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, add a few more grateful things to the bin, 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. Gilbert cites Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, to support his argument.
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.
We need to understand being mindful as being more aware and acting with more presence and awareness.
The purpose of mindfulness is to expand our awareness of our behavior and our role in our environment.
Mindfulness has become such a hot topic because we have disconnected our minds from our bodies, so much and so often. We continue to technologically over-connect to the growing cyber-worlds, and over-develop our analytical abilities in the navigating of it.
As a result, we frequently disconnect from our core selves, from the messages of our body and from the subtle messages of nature.
Mindfulness leads to a more holistic way of living where we are in sync with ourselves and nature. We become better people, we develop spiritually in mindfulness and we learn to balance our material demands with the guidance of our spirits.
But how do we get there?
Any course on mindfulness will set you on the path to mindfulness.
You need to learn the techniques and you need to practice.
When you commit to change, you have to find the time to spend with yourself. You will need to slow down and close your eyes. Even a 10 minutes of breathing exercises will make you aware of your body.
Think of mindfulness meditation as giving a gift to yourself. You are giving loving care to your body and soul. You are increasing your awareness, and you are establishing a more solid connection with yourself.
You are also increasing your self-healing abilities, changing your perceptions, and increasing your joy.
Life will slowly start revealing itself in different ways. What looked like grey, might start looking like green? What bothered you, will no longer bother you. Life will become easier. The way you deal with daily challenges will be less aggravating. You will slowly start forgiving others and accepting your experiences without emotional charge.
The moments and days you spend in mindfulness-present time will be longer and fuller, because you will start living with more joy.
The regular practice of slowing down and seeking a deeper connection to yourself is a work between you and you. When you start approving of yourself, loving yourself and making a difference in the lives of people, you will be firmly on the mindful path.
There is no end to it. All your life you will be starting over and over, and discovering more and more wisdom.
Is it worth it? Absolutely.
Mindfulness practice is a great way to dive into and savor the world of our greatest human possibilities, and explore its far reaches.
The essence of mindfulness is simple as well, just Be Here Now.
I am inviting everyone to start the New Year with a reflection on how to love better.
We don’t need to be in love to love. Although everyone loves to be in love. Even when you are in love, you can learn to love better.
The kind of love I have in mind here is Agape love, the broader more expansive love towards ourselves, others and the planet. How can we cultivate that love all of the time?
Everybody has love inside of them. You don’t need to search for it, you need to trust that you have an abundant amount of love to give and receive. We are wired to love and we are wired to respond to love with kindness.
Nobody can survive without love. If you take a look at your exchanges, love is everywhere around you. All day long we are exchanging love, like we are exchanging money. One we see, the other we feel and sense. A hello is love, a smile is love, nice words are love.
Always cultivate an open heart. I was in meditation today and was observing my heart. I know from personal experience that what happens when we have a conflict, experience a rejection or disappointment, is that we tend to close our hearts.
We close them because we are sad but also because it hurts to feel the pain and disappointment of rejection. This is exactly why we need to reverse our course, and stay open. By keeping our hearts open, we are nourishing them and allowing them to receive love from other sources, be it our pets, friends, parents, neighbors, and all of nature. Let the exchange of love keep flowing.
All our hearts are like giant flowers with petals. What happens to a flower when it is closed? We don’t see its essence, its colors, we can’t smell its fragrance. That is why we need to keep our hearts open and beautiful despite adversity. Our hearts are made to be appreciated. Everyone is worthy of love, everyone is worthy of receiving love. We are loving and lovable.
Cultivate the love you have. Let it grow. Love the small acts of love, they will grow your love.
As you expand your awareness, your love will expand. You will naturally make space for love to flourish inside of you. As you start to embrace your essence which the present moment reveals to you, love will replace what is not love inside of you….
So chirp your hearts out this New Year, and pay attention to the love that flows all around you.
Listening to the news about natural disasters or phenomena happening everywhere around the globe, I couldn’t stop thinking about what is needed of us, when events of such magnitude threaten our material and physical security?
The earth is always evolving and changing, and the changes are opportunities for us to grow and learn as human beings.
The uncertainty of the events, and of life in general, teaches us that certainty can be found only inside of us. If we have a strong core and a strong sense of who we are, we will face these events with courage and calm.
The truth is that life is all about learning how to live with uncertainty. And becoming more comfortable with not knowing what tomorrow will bring.
That is why we need to develop courage. If we cultivate courage as a human quality and if we recognize the value of becoming courageous, we will fare much better in times of high stress and uncertainty.
If you don’t have courage, you will let your anxiety and fear topple your calm, when what you need the most is calm and self-control.
If you don’t have courage, you will not be able to examine the information given to you, and to make the right decision for yourself and your loved ones. You will let negative thinking, thoughts and feelings of gloom and doom, overtake you and make you lose your ground.
Without courage, you will hastily abandon your property, your pets, your life and embrace the fear of others.
Courage is the quality to stand on your own, to think on your own, to listen to your radar system, and to be plugged into a deeper awareness and intelligence. Courage allows you to say no to the herd mentality, and to always act with dignity and empathy.
In times of volatility and uncertainty, we need to learn to stay present, grounded, and to trust our senses.
And most of all, we need to trust life and to trust ourselves and that requires a lot of courage!
I am inviting you to start examining yourself, setting new intentions, and developing and living with more courage!
Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world. – Archimedes