Sunday, August 14, 2011

Happiness and Your Brain Pathways

Happiness, it turns out,  is an actual neurological process.  It's a mix of forgiveness ( of self and others) and positive thinking and it turns out that all that stuff about counting your blessings is right on the money-- which is why prayer and meditation really work no matter what  your religious tradition is.

The habit of happiness or unhappiness is  written in your brain-- laid down in neurological pathways  and embellished by experience and memory.  This past week had me feeling pretty depressed, between London in flames, the stock market in the toilet, and Somalia starving.  Watching the talking heads on TV talk about it all  put me in a worse and worse mood.

Then, I turned off the TV and watched this video.  After watching it I took a long walk and  made a mental list of all the things in life I have to be grateful for.  I stopped thinking about the things I am afraid of in the future or regretting the past-- I just focused on the little and big things I've been lucky about so far in life.  It made me feel a lot better. It really did..... watching cable news does not do good things for your happiness level .  Walking in nature and counting your blessings does.

Here's the video-- watch it and give it a try.  You'll feel better.  I promise.


Nancy Hinchliff said...

Roberta, I totally believe and live my life this way. I was brought up in a family where all the women, especially my mother and her mother practiced mind over matter, positive thinking and Buddhist doctrines.

In addition when I worked on my graduate degree in special education to enable me to work with emotionally disturbed and behavior disordered adolescents, I studied in depth the workings of the brain and am very familiar with the way it establishes pathways and connections from past to present.

pinkpackrat said...

thanks for sharing all that Nancy-- very interesting and really informative. I think we have lost sight of so much that is valuable and important-- it's time to stop and smell the flowers.

JamaGenie said...

I agree with the premise of the video that positive thinking builds positive neural pathways. I also know from personal experience that recalling *happy* memories produces serotonin in the same way and in the same amounts it did when the actual event was occurring. I also agree that "bad" memories from the past affect our present life.

However, being a great believer in reincarnation, I know events from a past life (or lives) can adversely affect our thought processes in this life. Therefore, we can't possibly be reinforcing negative neural pathways by recalling or reliving such events. One can't recall or relive what one doesn't consciously remember. The negative reinforcing is a subliminal response to *similar* events in this life.

We can only be free of such reactions by discovering the source of the original issue through regression to the life in which it first occurred. Otherwise, the event will affect every subsequent life until the issue is acknowledged and resolved.