What I find so fitting for this time period of my life is I am currently taking a psychology capstone class on happiness primarily based on positive psychology. Anyone that is not drawn to the school of positivity is one I would be leery of.
I find myself to be a fairly resilient person considering all my life circumstances. One can either stay in the puddle of despair and grief or use it to propel them into a more well formed future. What makes a person resilient and able to revert back to a state of well being after tragedy strikes? What makes a person bounce back faster than others?
Per some analyzed research and intellectual discussion, I have found that genetic baseline (this is large-research suggest 50%), circumstances (research suggest 10%), and intentional activity (this is the key-which is 40%) make up person’s state of well-being also known as happiness. The good news is that we can indeed control the 40 percent aspect of well-being known as intentional activity whether it be cognitive or behavioral. How do you perceive things? What steps do you take to either decrease or increase happiness? Do you dwell on the negative? Are you a realist or an optimist, and can you be both? I have been introduced to a new concept of Flow coined by Csikszentmihalyi which is known as the complete immersion in a task, where all else including time tend to fade away creating an optimal experience. Flow can be found in even the most mundane of task from washing the dishes, working on a car, writing a blog, teaching a class, or participating in sports. It is in these moments that we engage in a natural high that is vacant of guilt. Can it be misused? Research suggest yes, when one becomes obsessed and disregards other important task on a frequent basis then it can create conflict. But like all things, done in moderation can be inherently good.
My point is, going back to work, going back to class, taking care of your children or spouse, and living life as you should is all part of the healing process. No you don’t negate the fact that something extremely bad has happened, but you don’t allow it to define you. Research also shows that a strong social support system is an essential element to our state of well being. As I have said before, I am extremely thankful for my friends and family that have lifted me up when I am down even if it is with a silent prayer because we also can not ignore the fact that prayer is fundamental in our existence (although sadly not all would agree). I will blog more about prayer and meditation in the near future. I have chosen to do my semester’s research project on the effects of meditation on happiness by displaying neurofeedback on changed brain structure. It is an amazing area of discovery and research.
If you have a moment, I highly recommend the documentary film called the Happy Movie http://www.thehappymovie.com/film/
The underlying theme I have seen in study of happiness is simplicity which I hope to also explore more in the near future. I was first intrigued with the concept of minimalism after watching the documentary called the Minimalist http://www.theminimalists.com/ which I believe has some important areas of thought.
I have a pounding migraine now which has been coming in waves since my mother’s prognosis a few days ago, I fear that if I don’t bring my writing to a halt I may vomit from the intensity of the pain (sorry TMI). I’ll go take my Excedrin now and enjoy the beauty of the day.