Happiness; what is it? How do we define it? When do you feel happy? Is it when you buy something you find desirable, when you’re engrossed in an activity you enjoy, when you spend time with fam
“If we take a (neuro) scientific approach, we can explore what really happens when we feel contentment, as the brain releases ‘happy’ chemicals, which affect us in different ways:
Dopamines play a role in pleasure and reward behaviour
Serotonins act as a mood stabiliser and prevent depression
Endorphins possess morphine-like effects and block pain
Oxytocins provide feelings of love and trust
By understanding how these chemicals originate, we can simply stimulate our own brain to produce more of them – and elevate our level of happiness. Happiness then is mainly dependent on us, our actions and our thoughts. It is a conscious choice and a state of mind that can be cultivated. The more we understand how our brain works, the more we can gain the ability to change the way we think – and feel.
We can re-wire our brains by training ourselves to be more aware of positive aspects of life with simple techniques:
Positive thinking: this not only affects our view of the world, but also can lead to more happy thoughts as the brain releases some of its supply of happy chemicals
Mindfulness exercises: these help us cope with the difficult thoughts that cause stress and anxiety
Gratitude: being thankful can reduce toxic emotions, ranging from envy and frustration to regret
Physical exercises: get moving! It boost energy, especially outdoors as light stimulates the brain chemicals that improve mood.”
There are many approaches we can use to stimulate those happy brain chemicals. Massage relaxes the body, turns off the brain noise and negative thought loops, relieves tension and fatigue leaving you refreshed and rejuvenated. Indian Head Massage is especially good for releasing beneficial brain chemicals notably the endorphins that create a feeling of contentment and happiness.
I highly recommend keeping a gratitude journal; simply writing down 3 things that you are thankful for each day attracts more into your life. This simple practice has enabled me to increasingly notice just how blessed I am.
Hypnotherapy is another wonderful, beneficial practice worth investing in as it focuses on helping you regain control and choice in your life.
In the last month I have also been scheduling a weekly walk in nature with the intention of visiting places I’ve not yet been to. Varying from woods to beaches and coves, each adventure is bringing me so much pleasure as I consciously and mindfully experience the environment. I use all five of my senses to bring myself to the moment – taking note of what I can hear, smell, taste, see and touch. The air feels different depending on where I am. The sunlight trying to penetrate the places between the tree branches takes on a different effect than the low sunlight skimming the surface of the sea making it sparkle and almost dazzles the eyes.
Never underestimate the healing power, freedom and happiness you feel when blasting out your favourite music and dancing around the house like a kid.
(Quotes are taken from an article featured in Breathe Magazine Issue 3 by Anne Guillot)
ily or friends? Are you happy knowing you’re healthy or is it that you just feel unhappy when you’re unwell? Do you know you’re happy in the moment or do you experience it when you look back at a time that brings with it feelings of happiness? Why is it that one person’s experience of being happy can be completely different to another’s? If we’re not happy how can we produce the feeling?