Ходжа Н. (hojja_nusreddin) wrote,
Ходжа Н.

Happy for no reason

“Back in Jefferson’s day, he explained, the common usage of the word “pursue” was not “to chase after.” In 1776, to pursue something meant to practice that activity, to do it regularly, to make a habit of it.
What a difference a definition makes! Thomas Jefferson, our wise Founding Father, meant that we all had the right to practice happiness, not chase after it -- which isn’t very productive anyway.
So let’s stop pursuing happiness and start practicing it!
We do that by practicing new habits.”

-- Marci Shimoff from "Happy for No Reason"

Marci continues: “People with high happiness set-points are human just like the rest of us. They don’t have special powers, an extra heart, or X-ray vision. They just have different habits. It’s that simple. Psychologists say that at least 90 percent of all behavior is habitual. So, to become happier, you need to look at your habits.”

Aristotle taught us the same thing: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

How about this from Maxwell Maltz’ great book "Psycho-Cybernetics":
“Our self-image and our habits tend to go together. Change one and you will automatically change the other. The word “habit” originally meant a garment or clothing...
Our habits are literally garments worn by our personalities. They are not accidental, or happenstance. We have them because they fit us. They are consistent with our self-image and our entire personality pattern. When we consciously and deliberately develop new and better habits, our self-image tends to outgrow the old habits and grow into the new pattern.”

Did you know we all have a happiness set-point? Fascinating stuff that researchers are discovering.
“Researchers have found that no matter what happens to you in life, you tend to return to a fixed range of happiness. Like your weight set-point, which keeps the scale hovering around the same number, your happiness set-point will remain the same unless you make a concerted effort to change it.”

-- Marci Shimoff from "Happy for No Reason"

As Marci says: “In fact, there was a famous study conducted that tracked people who’d won the lottery -- what many people think of as the ticket to the magic kingdom of joy. Within a year, these lucky winners returned to approximately the same level of happiness they’d experienced before their windfall. Surprisingly, the same was true for people who became paraplegic. Within a year or so of being disabled, they also returned to their original happiness level.”

You can think of your set-point like a thermostat. If it gets a little warmer in your house (i.e., you get a little happier!) the thermostat will bring your house/you down to the set-point. And, if it gets a little too cold, it’ll bring you up.
Researchers posit that 50% of our set-point comes from genetics while 10% is determined by our circumstances (like our job, marital status, wealth).

“The other 40 percent is determined by our habitual thoughts, feelings, words and actions. This is why it’s possible to raise your happiness set-point. In the same way you’d crank up the thermostat to get comfortable on a chilly day, you actually have the power to re-program your happiness set-point to a higher level of peace and well-being.”

“We’re still hard-wired the same way: we pay more attention to the negative than to the positive. As the psychologist and brain researcher Dr. Rick Hanson explained to me during our interview, our brains are “Velcro for negativity and Teflon for positivity.” Our negative experiences stick to us like Velcro, while our positive experiences slide right off us like Teflon. In fact, researchers have found that it takes numerous positive experiences to overcome a single negative one! Unfortunately, this wiring turns out to be disastrous for our happiness.”

-- Marci Shimoff from "Happy for No Reason".

There’s a great section in the book on the fact that we’re descended from the “Nervous Nellies” and “Fearful Franks” of the tribe. The peeps who really paid attention to the threats in the environment were the ones who survived long enough to have kids who then had kids who then had us.

As a result, in short, we have a “negativity bias” such that negativity makes a greater impression on our brains and we have “hot amygdalas” such that if we’re not careful, we’re gonna have a *lot* more fight-or-flight adrenalin running through our system than we want!
How do we deal with that?

Again, it goes back to re-wiring. Marci says: “I’m not talking about wishful thinking, or simply deciding to be happier. That’s like pasting a smiley face over our pain or spreading a layer of icing over cake that’s burned to a cinder. The bad stuff is still there. What I’m talking about is accessing the higher center of your brain, your neocortex, to reverse the negativity bias and override your primitive alarm system.”

“One evening a Cherokee elder told his grandson about the battle that goes on inside of people. He said, “My son, the battle is between the two ‘wolves’ that live inside us all. One is Unhappiness. It is fear, worry, anger, jealousy, sorrow, self-pity, resentment, and inferiority. The other is Happiness. It is joy, love, hope, serenity, kindness, generosity, truth, and compassion.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:
“Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
-- Marci Shimoff from "Happy for No Reason".

Marci talks about the power of neuro-plasticity and the fact that we’re literally re-wiring our brains moment to moment to moment as we either continue to reinforce our old, unhappiness-creating behaviors or build new, happiness-affirming habits. She says we need to “Incline our mind to joy!” Powerful stuff.

One way we can do it is to “Register the Positive.”
As Marci says: “Have the intention to notice everything good that happens to you: any positive thought you have, anything you see, feel, taste, hear, or smell that brings you pleasure, a win you experience, a breakthrough in your understanding about something, an expression of your creativity--the list goes on and on. This intention activates the reticular activating system (RAS), a group of cells at the base of your brain stem responsible for sorting through the massive amounts of incoming information and bringing anything important to your attention. Have you ever bought a car and then suddenly started noticing the same make of car everywhere? It’s the RAS at work. Now you can use it to be happier. When you decide to look for the positive, your RAS makes sure that’s what you see.”
Tags: генетика, психаложэство, счастье

Posts from This Journal “счастье” Tag

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