A contribution by Mush’s anonymous friend
Did you know that you can actually “trick” your brain into thinking you’re happy? Dr. David Lykken, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at theUniversity of Minnesota says, “Emotions are a combination of internal feelings and physical responses that provide feedback to your brain.” In effect, you can consciously initiate or provide the mental and physical conditions that your brain will naturally translate into feelings and emotions — you basically have the power to influence your mood. Try it for yourself.
Smile even when you don’t feel like it. You’ll think it’s silly but studies have shown that people who force themselves to smile eventually develop a more positive attitude towards challenges and setbacks. Smile the moment you wake up. Smile as you put yourself to sleep. Smile at everyone you meet.
Laugh at the pettiest things. Get some air into those lungs! More oxygen, more energy, brighter day! Ten minutes of laughter a day –- that’s all you need to ensure a life of contentment. You’ll be surprised that in Asia, some companies have employed a daily “laughter break”. Employees have to walk to a park, form a circle, and force themselves to laugh non-stop for 15 minutes. Company executives swear that this relaxation break has caused worker enthusiasm and productivity to soar!
Stand tall and walk fast. Remember your teacher in second grade? She tapped you with a ruler, screaming, “No slouching! Chin up! Walk tall!” You had no idea that she wasn’t just insisting on good posture, she was also making sure you developed a bright and confident outlook in life!
Stretch – better yet, exercise! Don’t “think” about your workout, just do it! If you pause, to think about the sweat, the pain, the monotony and the time, you’ll find one excuse or other not to do it. So, don’t rationalize. Just get up and do it. You know that at the end of the workout, you’ll feel good you did it. And if you’re not exactly the workout kind, try dancing!
Think only positive thoughts, speak only positive words. Every time you start to think or say something negative, stop. Change your sentences into the positive. Pessimists complain about their problems; optimists think of solutions. Advise, rather than criticize. Encourage, inspire, motivate –- yourself and others. Pick up a lesson, rather than blame. And always count your blessings.
These are just a few of the many ways you can jumpstart an overall feeling of happiness and contentment. Remember that your emotions are dictated by your perception of the world around you. And your reactions are a product of choice — you can “choose” to be happy, angry or sad. As Ecrivain Lesage wrote in “Histoire de Gil Blas” in 1735, “I am happy and content because I think I am.”