THE NEW SCIENCE OF HAPPINESS: –
What makes the human heart sing?
For most of its history, psychology had concerned itself with all that ails the human mind; anxiety, depression, neurosis, obsessions, paranoia, delusions etc. The goal of practitioners was to bring patients from a negative ailing state to a neutral normal.
Over the decades, few psychological researchers had ventured out of the dark realm of mental illness in to the sunny land of the mentally hale and hearty. They found that most people find happiness in family connections and friendships. Survey showed 35% find happiness in children and grandchil- dren, 17% in family life, 11% in God/Faith/Religion and 9% in spouse. On the positive side, religious faith seems to genuinely lift the spirit, though it is tough to tell whether it’s the GOD part or the community aspect that does the heavy lifting. It is important to work on social skills, close interpersonal ties and social support in order to be happy.
Measuring Happiness: –
Of course happiness is not a static state, even the happiest of people feel blue at times and even the bluest have their moments of joy. That has presented a challenge to social scientists trying to measure happiness. Also it is a simple fact that happiness is inherently subjective. As a result of research scientists find three components of happiness. Pleasure (the smiley face), Engagement (the depth of involvement with one’s family, work, romance and hobbies), Meaning (using personal strengths to serve some larger end). About 50% of one’s satisfaction with life comes from genetic programming. Genes influence such traits as having a sunny, easy going personality; dealing well with stress and feeling low levels of anxiety and depression. Humans were designed to be happy, creative and in harmony with the universe at all times.
Eight Steps Towards a More Satisfying Life: –
1. Count your blessings.
2. Practice acts of kindness.
3. Savor life’s joys.
4. Thank a mentor.
5. Learn to forgive.
6. Invest time and energy in friends and family.
7. Take care of your body.
8. Develop strategies for coping with stress and hardships.
The Natural High: –
Two key brain chemicals regulate how happy the body feels.
1. Dopamine, which is released in the nucleus accumbency and the frontal cortex, bathes neurons involve in memory and emotion, rewarding activities like eating and sex with pleasurable feelings.
1. Endorphins, which are chemically similar to morphine, promote pleasure by dampening pain and producing high.
The artificial High: –
Drug as can alter the brain’s normal reward circuit, making it harder to feel pleasure without help.