The Key to Happiness

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions”. Dalai Lama XIV

A friend sent me an article this week that I found fascinating and would like to share with you. As a Psychologist, I’ve always been interested in the workings of the brain and have followed research concerning the link between neuroscience and Psychology. So much is happening! The article I’m referring to is based on a book by Alex Korb, Ph.D. called “The Upward Spiral”. In this book, Alex Korb explains how our actions and thoughts activate certain areas of the brain that result in our feeling better even though those thoughts/actions aren’t helpful in the long run.

For example, when we feel pride, shame and guilt, they all activate similar neural circuits that stimulate the brain’s reward center. Curious, isn’t it? And, when we worry, it actually calms the limbic system because we’re doing something rather than nothing. But, guilt, shame and worry, says Korb, are horrible long-term solutions. What should we do? Neuroscientists are saying, “Ask yourself this question: “What am I grateful for?” They’ve found that gratitude affects the brain by activating the brain stem region that produces the neurotransmitter dopamine. This is the same neurotransmitter that antidepressants affect. And, gratitude also boosts the neurotransmitter serotonin which affects our ability to think positively. Amazing, isn’t it? And, it goes on and on. You might want to read the article below which describes 4 rituals that will make you happy.

These include:
1. Ask yourself what you’re grateful for.
2. Label negative feelings. Recognizing your emotions will reduce their impact.
3. Make that decision.Making a “good enough” decision reduces worry and anxiety.
4.Touch people. One of the primary ways to to release oxytocin is through touching.Touching someone you love actually reduces pain.

What are you willing to do to start the spiral of happiness? I’d love to hear from you at about your thoughts. I truly would.
In Gratitude, Beverly

4 Rituals That Will Make You Happy

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