The Surprising Science of Happiness

While driving with my wife, we pulled up this great TED talk about the science of being happiness.

Two topics were particularly interesting to me.

1) My biggest takeaway was the understanding of our frontal cortex. That part of our brain allows us to experience events without actually being there (daydreaming, remembering, imaging, etc). So it turns out that anything we ever imagine is never how it actually will be.

So when people imagine how happy they will be IF ONLY this happens. Well things never work out like that.

This adaptation is probably part of what drives us day in and day out. It’s what motivates us to achieve. But I think it’s important to understand and harness this knowledge, rather than let it take us over. We shouldn’t base out happiness on hoping one of our imaginations comes to fruition…but rather be grateful for what we have in the moment.

Happiness Comes From Patience

2) This brings us to my second takeaway. Towards the end of the podcast (maybe the last 10 minutes or so), a monk brought up the point that people who are happy are not always grateful, BUT people who are grateful are always happy. So he theorized then that to be happy, you should be grateful. Take time throughout the day to stop and enjoy everything you are working so hard for. (even if it’s only for a few seconds, but do it often). Rather than rushing through life, getting things done, etc. Taking a step back and being grateful for it will make you happier.

He also talks about how even situations that you perceive as negative can be turned into something you are grateful for. For example let’s say you have a flat tire on a rainy day after a long day of work. Sure you can let that easily ruin the rest of your night. Or you can be grateful for the opportunity to learn how to change a tire. You can be grateful for a great test of your patience.

Thanks for reading 🙂


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