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 go on dates with ideas in our heads, and so much hope that things will turn well, thinking that maybe… our search and struggles will soon be over. But the reality is often something else, and we get stuck in a full range of emotions.
How do you get up when you are feeling down, when you go through experiences that are not matching your expectations, when you are tired of feeling disappointed after dates.
There is nothing wrong with having expectations or standards, we need them to guide us through life. But there are a few things we should do to get unstuck quickly after a bad date and keep going.
Learn to have neutrality about dating situations and always treat yourself with respect and compassion. The worst thing you can do is to start analyzing and feeling guilty. I should have done this, I should have said that. No matter what you said or did, it wasn’t an experience you were supposed to have.
It might have been a decision on both sides, even if it was unconscious. When someone doesn’t call you back, examine the truth, it might be you who is putting the brakes on, even if you were not consciously aware of it at the time.
It is what it is. I like this saying because It is a very present moment saying. Ok, so you met, and you can’t imagine being with each other. Simply put, you didn’t connect. Now, you are free to close this small chapter and move on.
In the meantime, feel grateful for the new lessons you are receiving. Make sure your heart stays open and ready to receive love. You are getting closer to the one who will make your heart soar. Trust life and trust your heart!
Do not give up because you have been through a bunch of dates and they haven’t been satisfactory. If you keep getting disappointed and feeling that you will never find a partner, it is time to stop the thinking all together.
Go out dancing or to a cafe with friends. Keep dreaming… a life without dreams is a life not worth living.
Take the advice you find, online or off, with a grain of salt. It is wonderful to become a better person in all venues of life. But no one has the answer for you. You have the answers for yourself. When you follow your spirit and your heart, you can become a powerful being.
When you start living from the heart and your truth, you won’t follow anyone else’s rules. You follow yours. Start experiencing today with no rules, only with the wisdom of your heart. And make sure that you are receptive to the unexpected and beautiful, everywhere, and with everyone.
Most people would probably agree that our world needs empathy.
The dictionary defines empathy as the action and the capacity of understanding, being aware of, and being sensitive to the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of another person.
As humans we are wired to be empathetic because we can feel our own pain, thus the pain of other human beings or animals. We can deeply understand their distress. But if we are wired for empathy, why so many people lack empathy?
One might argue that our culture – with its emphasis on mental and technological progress – has cut us off from our emotions and our bodies. We spend most of our time thinking, analyzing and not really listening to the silent messages of the heart and body. Because we spend so much time on our computers and at our desks, we can easily become isolated in our heads, and that means less time in person or within real life communities.
Psychologists talk of three types of empathy. Cognitive empathy is when you can put yourself in somebody else’s shoes. We cognitively understand what they are going through. Though this is important, it is not enough.
Emotional empathy is when you feel and sympathize with the feelings and emotions of others. We need this capacity to maintain relationships and friendships. But emotional empathy can be treacherous for sensitive people. Taking in, into your body, somebody’s else emotions and pain – can cause you to become ill.
I heard a radio host yesterday apologizing for not talking about the tragedy in Texas. She explained it like this… “I feel too much pain. I am in an overload of pain after months of tragedies. I can’t go there.”
Feeling the pain of others is an essential component of good health. But it is important to be able to separate one’s emotions from other people’s emotions. And this can be difficult for a lot of people.
To have healthy empathy, we must transition into Compassion. With compassion we understand and we feel for someone else, but we also understand that we need to stay whole in order to be a healthy and helpful resource for others. Compassion is felt more in the heart. It is an invisible silent thread that is felt between people. We are extending our heart to someone else’s heart.
Compassionate people are in control of their emotions. They can be very helpful in bringing about wise solutions. They are helpful with their sheer and trustworthy presence.
So to increase empathy and compassion, I would suggest to start with yourself.
Ask yourself how much empathy you have for yourself? Are you hard and unforgiving of yourself? Do you feel a lot of guilt all the time? Self-reflect and meditate on yourself often.
Also, remember episodes where you lacked empathy for others? Were you afraid or unware? Always ask why and wait for the answers to emerge from deep silence. There is no need to go into the past. But by remembering your aha moments of your past, you can illuminate your future.
Changing ourselves is a process. The most important thing is to be committed to transformation and to realize that your most important task on this planet is to become more human and to be of service.
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
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