I just read the coolest stuff ever in this book called “The Book of Joy”( A week-long discussion between HHT Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu) and ended up researching for hours on the works of the neuroscientist Richard Davidson and I am super thrilled with the findings – hence sharing!
Davidson explains that there are four independent brain circuits that influence our well-being – Outlook, Resilience, Attention and Generosity.Let me explain in detail what I could comprehend.
1.Outlook: This is our ability to maintain positive states and being a die-hard optimist, it’s a fairly easy thing for me to do.I am the queen of seeking “good” in most situations and have a forever rosy view of the world.So number 1 on this list is definitely my forte.
2.Resilience: This is the rapidity with which we recover from negative states. If I look at it from my perspective, that’s my worst enemy. You know how it is – I will be all happy in my fairyland and one tiny thing goes wrong, I get pulled down easily. And the strange part is I take forever to recover from it. So yes, this part of the brain circuit – not my friend.
The interesting thing to note is that these two states are controlled by completely independent circuits. So while you could be someone who is generally happy, you still might find it easy to fall into an abyss of negative state and have a hard time recovering. That completely explains me to me!
3.Attention: This is the all famous mindfulness thing that I have been trying to work on – essentially our ability to focus and avoid mind wandering. The bad news is I suck at it. The good news is I have found enough and more books and meditations to help me master it. Even though very far from mastering it, am on the right path!
4.Generosity: Honestly, I was surprised there is a whole brain circuitry devoted to it and that it has 25% control over our state of well-being. I was so happy to read research that supports my view: human beings are born with basic innate goodness. In fact, when engaging in generous and altruistic behaviour, we actually activate circuits in the brain that are key to fostering well-being. These circuits get activated in a way that is more enduring than the way we respond to other positive incentives, such as winning a game or earning a prize. Isn’t that cool? Irrespective of where each one sees herself on this scale, it is fairly easy to become better by taking out time, money and other resources for altruistic activities.
In case you are still wondering why I am euphoric reading all this research, I must tell you I am the master of No.1 and am working on mastering No.3 and No.4.So I will soon have control over 75% of factors affecting my happiness and I am sure I will figure out a way to tame No.2 too! Didn’t I tell you I am a die-hard optimist ?!
On a serious note, I truly believe all this does, is reinforce something I have known all along and realised most in 2016 – I am the master of my own destiny and my happiness can only come from me and no one else. Life can and will always have plans for me but how I respond to any of them is my choice and that gives me the power to make them into good experiences for me.
Thank you for reading and hope this rambling helps you in some way.