Published by: Digital Schools
We all want to be happy
Sometimes in life, we don’t hear the words we need to and listen to the ones we shouldn’t.
Instead of being praised, we may be punished instead, and this can leave a lasting effect, causing us to unconsciously seek approval or find comfort from the world and its material things.
Everyone on earth wants to be happy, and by right we should be; and yet so many of us are not, as we believe the source of our happiness resides somewhere out there.
Your happiness in life is directly affected by your ability to concentrate and focus, understand your emotions and respond appropriately in any given moment. The term given to these balanced attributes is called equanimity: ‘Calmness and composure in any given situation, especially in a difficult one’.
With poor concentration and little awareness of the mind, you spend most of your time in what scientists call your ‘Default Mode Network”, which is where your mind wanders to when you lose concentration.
The Default Mode Network was a concept that underpinned a lot of the early research into the effectiveness of meditation at enhancing concentration and reducing anxiety.
In 2001 a research team led by Marcus Raichle,
a neuroscientist at Washington University in St. Louis, confirmed the existence of the default mode network and its role in constructing our identity.
Raichle was studying the areas of the brain that lighted up during different cognitive tasks and found that when doing nothing, the mind was incredibly active.
“When scientists asked people during these periods of “doing nothing” what was going on in their minds, not surprisingly, it was nothing! They typically reported their minds wandering: most often, this mind-wandering was focused on the self – How am I doing in this experiment? I wonder what they are learning about me?; I need to reply to Joe’s phone messages – all reflecting mental activity focused on “I” and “me”.”
( Goleman, Davidson~ p.151 )
In short, he and his team discovered that the mind mostly wanders to something about ourselves -“my thoughts, my emotions, my relationships, who liked my new post on Facebook – all the minutiae of our life’s story.”
( Goleman, Davidson ~ p.151 )
Raichle and his team had reconciled that the Default Mode Network was where the construct of the self was made. It is where memories, fragments of ideas, emotions, hopes, dreams, plans and anxieties knit together to create your identity.
“our default mode continually scripts and rescripts a movie where each of us stars, replaying particularly favourite or upsetting scenes over and over”.
( Goleman, Davidson~ p.151 )
The longer you spend in your default mode, the more likely you are to be unhappy.
Naturally, the mind wanders to things that are bothering us, so we continue to check on our worries over the day, making sure that they are still there, that the “I” still exists. – the problem with this is the more you visit your worries and anxieties the stronger they get because you are strengthening the connections between your attention and your fear.
The more anxious you become, the worse your attention will be.
The area of the brain that controls your panic response and animal behaviours hijacks your prefrontal cortex – (the part of the brain that maintains focus and participates in the executive functions like decision making, emotional response, personality and self-awareness).
The Amygdala Hijack
Anything is Possible
With the help of research into neuroscience and neuroplasticity, we can now comfortably say that reshaping your mind and changing your brain is possible and anyone can do it.
With the awareness that you are being hijacked by your brain all day, you can now choose to re-route your attention and redesign your life by changing what you imagine and what you say to yourself.
Where you once thought “I am not enough”, “I could never do that it just isn’t possible for me” – you will now be able to imprint your mind with what you want to think and believe.
The identity that you have collected as a bundle of fixations, ideas, anxieties, false beliefs and outdated habits can be reconstructed cleverly by you.
Where you once unconsciously roamed into agitated memories, self-doubt, delusions, and worry, you can now explore the potential to re-imagine yourself and your future.
Hypnotise Your Life
The reason most people are unhappy says Marisa Peer – leading UK hypnotherapist, psychologist, author and international speaker, is because they believe they are not good enough.
She says your brain responds to two things, ‘The pictures you make in your head and the words you say to yourself”.
Without going too far into the dimensions of how the mind and reality interact – you can experiment directly with reprogramming your mind and your reality by saying these words to yourself every day, twice a day for three months.
“I AM ENOUGH”
Of course, there are variations you can explore – the essential component is consistency and accuracy as well as timing.
Marisa says to write it down, send yourself a text, stick the words on the fridge and tell it to yourself every time a negative thought pops into your head.
Find out more on Marisa Peer Here:
Retrain Your Brain
One of the worlds leading experts in mindfulness and self -awareness, Daniel Goleman (writer of Emotional Intelligence and co. author of The Science of Meditation) explains that concentration is paramount to happiness as better focus means a less anxious the mind.
Mindfulness and meditation are amazing at cultivating awareness, concentration and self-compassion, and reducing anxiety and stress.
Learn simple ways to enhance your concentration with Daniel Goleman here:
1. Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davidson, 2017, ‘The Science of Meditation’ ( Goleman and Richardson)
Guest Contributor: Emily Rack
Business Name: Horatio’s Jar
Publisher: Digital Schools
Emily Rack is a yoga teacher, meditation instructor, freelance writer and visual content creator. She incorporates a unique creative flair into her yoga and meditation classes, courses and workshops. Emily hosts events and courses in schools and the wider community and passionate about teaching the art of mindfulness.