Did you know that if you complain about things frequently, you could actually be digging yourself an early grave? There is actual science to back this up, and what's even more astounding is the fact that you can actually shape your own reality with your thoughts. Read on to find out about the science of happiness:
1. “Synapses that fire together wire together.”
Synapses are structures that are present throughout the brain. They act as message relays for thoughts, speech and movement. When a thought pops into your head, a synapse fires a chemical across a tiny gap to another synapse. In other words, an electrical signal is built across a bridge in your brain.
Every time the above occurs, your synapses grow closer together, meaning that the distance between them is reduced, allowing them to pass on the electrical signal quicker. The brain basically rewires its own circuitry, which means that your thoughts reshape your brain – literally.
2. Shortest Path Wins the Race.
The synapses that bond most strongly together in your brain actually form your default personality – from your intelligence, to your skills and aptitude at different tasks in different situations. Furthermore, they determine what your most easily-accessible thoughts are, which has a great bearing on your conversational skills.
The more a thought is repeated in your head, the closer together you bring the synapses that pass it on. The thought that wins the race inside your brain is the one that has the least distance to travel between synapses.
3. Acceptance vs. Regret, Drift vs. Desire, Love vs. Fear.
Whenever the opportunity arises for us to think a reactive thought, you’re generally faced with the following choices: Love versus Fear; Acceptance versus Regret; Drift versus Desire, or Optimism versus Pessimism.
Taking the first example, you can choose to love everything in life while relinquishing your need for control. If you approach everything in your life from a perspective of love and do not try to control what you cannot, then you have nothing to fear.
According to Buddhist philosophy, the universe itself is a place of suffering and chaos, thus our attempts to exert control over what goes on within it are nothing but futile.
Practicing acceptance of the natural flow of life, giving thanks for each experience you have and every lesson you learn, will result in the synapses in your brain that represent love having a much higher chance of being triggered before those associated with sadness, regret, pessimism, fear, depression and so on. Repeatedly approaching situations from an optimistic and loving perspective will turn your default mental state into one of optimism and appreciation.
With the above being said, you must note that this isn’t a fool-proof practice. Sometimes the burden of emotion weighs too heavily on us, and being in a negative state of mind from time to time is just a part of life. However, just like any muscle in your body, you will see the results you want through regular, repeated exercise – you’ll garner a new, innate strength, which will permeate your world with beauty.
While it may be a revelation to you that you can actually shape your own reality with your thoughts, the thoughts of those around you can contribute greatly to it as well.
When we observe someone experiencing a specific emotion, our brain tests out the emotion we perceive in order for us to try and understand what that person is going through. This is the basis of empathy, which although contains a whole world of good in itself, is also something that can have negative effects.
Think of a mob mentality – when collective anger influences others to pick up their pitchforks against the common enemy, or listening to that annoying friend of yours who berates everyone and everything to gain some self-validation. In the latter instance, you find yourself reluctantly agreeing with them that yes, what they’re complaining about really is unfair or just a load of baloney.
The fact of the matter is that life is chaotic. If you continue to let the chaos that surrounds you influence you, then you’re shaping your brain in such a way that your default, short-path personality will become bitter and jaded, rather than loving and optimistic.
Spend time with people that elevate you – that are happy and full of love, rather than people that make you live in fear of being invalidated. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t help out friends who are going through a hard time, nor does it mean that you cannot critique the world’s failings and injustices. After all, positive change usually requires critical thought.
5. Stress is a killer.
Negativity, regret, attachment to desire and pointless complaining about things that don’t really matter will ultimately kill you. Although this point might seem drastic, all of these things ultimately lead to stress. When your brain is working away, firing angry synapses, your immune system gets weakened as a result and you'd be putting yourself at risk of a whole range of health problems.
The human stress hormone is called cortisol, and it’s somewhat of a public enemy in the medical profession. Elevated cortisol levels cause a decline in learning and memory, a decrease in immune function and bone density, an increase in weight gain, a rise in blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and a higher susceptibility to heart disease. These are just a few of the ailments that can be brought on by cortisol.
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The Bottom Line
The universe is a chaotic place, and you happen to live in it. Each and every moment that you go through in your life has the potential to spawn other moments, ranging anywhere from soul-crushing grief, all the way to spirit-soaring bliss.
The choice of where the majority of your future moments lie on that scale is really up to you.
Decide whether you’re going to live in Love or Fear. It’s obvious that life will always present you with moments of hardship, such as the passing of a loved one, the end of a romance or a failure in professional or academic life, but you don’t have to live in regret of them when they do present themselves.
Don’t feed these moments with negative attention – doing so will just make you cynical and jaded, blinding you to the fact that your very existence means you live in a cosmic playground, where you get to be the master of your own destiny through the choices you make.
When faced with a tough situation, be accepting of it. Say yes, this was horrible, but what have I learned from going through it? How is it going to make me a better person? How can I take strength from this so I can be closer to happiness in the next moment?
An example of the above is when a relationship ends. If there’s something your ex used to do that drove you completely mad, you have the gift of knowing in the present not to waste any time on people who behave with you in the same way your ex used to.
Be mindful of the lessons you learn from your failures. Each day can be better than the one before it. Try something new every single day, live in love over fear, and strive to make your life better. The more you do these things, the more you will see how beautiful life really is, and ultimately, the happier you will be.
Content Source: Psychpedia