Flash forward several decades, and lo and behold (love that phrase), having your head examined is a reality. Access to MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) has opened up the whole world of neuroscience.
Now we can see what actually happens in the brain as we experience the ordinary challenges of life. Each day, research sheds more light on mind-body connections.
A collection of findings on the neuroscience of happiness recently caught my eye. It suggests four actions we can take to create a more positive upward spiral of happiness in our lives.
Action: Here they are:
- Ask yourself what you are grateful for. You don’t even have to find an answer to the question to experience a positive effect. The simple act of searching for something to appreciate has the same impact on the brain as a dose of antidepressant. It boosts the ‘get happy’ neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin.
- Label negative feelings. Use a word or two to give these rumblings of discontent a name. Consciously recognizing negative emotions reduces their physiological impact and calms the mind and body down. It’s far healthier than trying to suppress them or pretend they don’t exist.