Live Your Life To The Fullest: Train Your Brain To Be Happier | Live life to the fullest
Do you think that some people are naturally happier than others and that there is nothing you can do?
Scientists believed that once a person reached adulthood, the brain was pretty much set in stone and there was little we could do to change it. However, new research shows that when we repeatedly think, feel, and act in different ways, the brain can actually reconnect.
Scientists have also discovered that each of us has a “happiness set point,” the genetic and learned tendency to stay at a certain level of happiness – similar to a thermostat setting on an oven. Our happiness setpoint stays the same unless we make a concerted effort to change it, according to Marci Shimoff, author of “Happiness for No Reason.”
Two of our biggest obstacles to happiness – fear and anxiety – have been brought into us to ensure survival as a species. In today’s world, however, the threat of being chased by a saber-toothed tiger barely exists. And that old wiring has become more harmful than useful.
People with high happiness set points do not have special powers. They just have different habits. Psychologists say that at least 90% of all behavior is habitual. So, to become happier, we have to review our habits.
All of our usual thoughts and behaviors have created specific neural pathways in the wiring of our brains, like grooves in a vinyl record. When we think or behave in a certain way over and over again, the neural pathways are strengthened – and the groove becomes deeper.
To get a feel for your typical behavior patterns, take a look at the questions below, developed by psychologist Dan Baker. Baker is the Life Improvement Program Director at Canyon Ranch Spa in Tucson, Arizona, and is the co-author of “What Happy People Know”. Mark your answers as N (never), I (infrequently) S (sometimes) or F (frequently).
1. When things aren’t going well, I feel trapped or overwhelmed.
2. What matters most is enjoying relationships.
3. I don’t quite understand the purpose of my life.
4. Taking care of my health is a priority.
5. When I think about the people in my life, I focus on those who hurt or disappoint me.
6. When I think about the people in my life, I focus on those who are close to my heart and whom I love.
7. There are events in my life that have left scars on me forever.
8. There is a spiritual power I can turn to for comfort whenever I need it.
9. People hurt me.
11. I believe that my life will truly begin when the right person or the right circumstances present themselves.
12. I have grown – emotionally and spiritually – through painful events in life.
13. I take myself very, very seriously.
14. I believe it’s up to me to live my life to the fullest and find meaning.
15. If I don’t have enough money or love, then I can’t feel safe.
16. Although life circumstances change, my beliefs and abilities allow me to survive and thrive.
17. There is not enough time to take care of me.
18. I feel better when I give to others.
19. I just have too much to do.
20. Life is good. I really appreciate what I have.
Each time you answered “sometimes”, give yourself a 2. For even questions: “never” and “rarely” get a 1, and “frequently” a 3. For odd questions: “never” and “rarely” »Get a 3,« frequently »a 1. Add up your total.
50 to 72: Congratulations. See yourself as a happy person.
30 to 49: You’re not unhappy, but your sunny side might need a boost. Think about your strengths and what activities you enjoy. Build more of your life around them.
29 or less: you might get more out of life. Is your internal language destructive? If your first impulse is to find flaws, try looking for opportunities. When something bad happens, do you fall apart? That old cliché that finding strength in adversity is a golden rule for happy people.
Finally, do you think that money, power, or status will bring you satisfaction, or that all will be well when someone else changes? Try to focus on yourself and take responsibility for your emotions. Happiness is really an inside job.
Reset your happiness set point
If this quiz sheds light on the areas you would like to change, rest assured. You are where you are in life because of your beliefs and habits, and these can change over time. Adjust your behavior in key areas and retake the quiz in six months.
Unhappy people tend to have more negative neural pathways. This is why we cannot ignore the realities of our brain wiring and simply decide to be happy. To raise our happiness set points, we need to create new grooves by repeating different behaviors.
Brain researcher Dr. Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin says, “Based on what we know about brain plasticity, we can think of things like happiness and compassion as skills that don’t. are no different from learning tennis or a musical instrument. . And that it is possible to train our brains to be happy.
So go for it!
© 2021 Linda Arnold Live Life Full, all rights reserved. Linda Arnold, MA, MBA, is a union columnist, psychological counselor, and founder of a multi-state marketing company. Reader comments are welcome at [email protected] For more information on her books, visit www.lindaarnold.org or Amazon.com.