Two Secrets of Happiness: Change Your Mind & Change Your Body
By: Deb Maes
September 26, 2012
Many think happiness is the result of something that is happening. We say things like, ‘that makes me happy’. Cognitively, we think we are so clever that it must obviously be the context that is making us happy or sad or whatever.
Well, it’s true on some level, though it is never the situation or the context that makes us feel anything… it’s the meaning we make of it. For example, a long brown thing in the grass can instantly make us jump, scream or have our heart race (depending on gender). What is it we IMAGINE to get that response? (Correct answer: a snake) I have had this happen. Then I have taken a closer look and recognised it as a stick, and my response changed.
The First Secret: “It’s the data plus the meaning that gives us the basis to have a feeling.” I once heard Connirae Andreas say: we interpret and make meaning so fast that we don’t even notice that we are doing it. Now you know, if you chose, you can start to notice the meanings you are making that please or distress you and start to change that. I invite you to ask me how if you find this challenging.
The Second Secret: Another way to make a feeling is through the feedback loop between the muscles and the brain. Our brain monitors our muscles and interprets how we feel based on the muscles we are using. If we are using our smiling muscles, simple as we are, the brain thinks: ‘I’m using my smiling muscles. I must feel happy.’ And then you have the emotion. There is myriad psychological research that demonstrates this phenomenon.
You may think it’s a bit silly we are so simple, or you may not believe that it is true. Then again, it could be a relief to know that we can just simply smile, or choose a better meaning and we create more happiness.
What will happen when you give it a go?