A Holiday Gift: Simply Learning to Enhance Your Happiness
I’ve been writing about the idea that happiness can be learned, and now I’m giving you a way to start that’s quite simple…watching the video we just made from an interview I gave on a major Toronto radio station in October. We’ve added hundreds of happy slides to create a video track, and posted it on You Tube. While you absorb the message, let yourself be swept away by the pictures of happy people. You can watch it again and again with the sound turned off. Let it create a happy feeling within you—our gift for the holidays. When it finishes, the feeling will gradually subside.
The real challenge is whether you can bring it back by just intending to be happy at various times during the day. Start by remembering some of the pictures, or favorite holiday music, or BeachBoys songs (like “Good Vibrations”). Some of you will be able to “Happitate” some of the time, but this is actually a skill that builds with coaching and practice. The object of your effort to grow is to be able to achieve and sustain these feelings of happiness—directly, without needing to think about anything–just by intending to have positive feelings. Then you can have them while doing any activity.
The best coach that I know for this is our Happi Trainer, which can give you moment to moment feedback on how intense these feelings are, while you are watching a video like ours get bigger and smaller with their intensity, or later in the training, when you just watch the blue bar rise and fall and then listen to a feedback tone. You learn to modify the function of your basic dopamine brain reward system, which doesn’t need pictures or thoughts to evoke positive feelings. This is obviously true, since just chemical changes in the system (from using drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and opioids) can produce these euphoric feelings, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (where I used to do research on this topic) has pointed out in a primer for high school students on the dopamine reward system. So can intention, which can affect this system, even without an external cause of happiness, such as drugs, pictures, music, or sports.
We will soon be sending out a newsletter to our subscribers with instructions about how to add this video to the Happi Trainer, Peak BrainHappiness Trainer, Socialize ACE and the Mood Elevator. I think this will make our Neureka! training much more powerful.
With best wishes for a happier New Year.