It is my privilege, on a daily basis, to both practice what I’ve learned from neuroscience and to teach it to others in order to make their lives more meaningful, satisfying and fulfilling.
I constantly share with clients that we have so much more control over our emotions, outcomes and life by learning more about how to ‘use our brains to create happiness and satisfaction’. For some reason, beyond my understanding as a child and adolescent, my family insisted that I start everything by using my head.
Neuroscience – Understanding the Brain
Neuroscience has put a whole new spin on this idea and phrase. We are so fortunate to live at this time, when research and science are able to provide so much insight into how we can use our heads. The understanding of what is happening inside our heads and how small, easy shifts can completely change a mood, reaction, relationship, conversations and overall well-being.
In short, we’re happier and healthier people when we use our heads in the right way. It’s solid research that shows us how and it’s great science that gives it all meaning and makes it useful.
Emotional and Conversational Intelligence both contribute to our ability to make the needed shifts to more consistently achieve our needed outcomes. Being intentional about how we use our brain, use our head and strive for greater happiness and meaning in our lives is KEY.
1. Gratitude – In order to begin this with ease, I’m suggesting that we each begin with gratitude. Giving and receiving gratitude actually triggers the production of incredible neurotransmitters. Eric Barker tells us that the antidepressant, Wellbutrin, does the exact same thing that gratitude does. Both boost the neurotransmitter called dopamine.
2. Interconnectivity – This really can start an upward spiral of happiness in your life. UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb explains:
“Everything is interconnected. Gratitude enhances sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision making. Decision making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment also makes it more likely you’ll exercise and be social, which, in turn, will make you happier.”
3. Mindfulness – So, begin with gratitude. Be grateful for a beautiful sunrise or sunset, wildflowers blooming in a field, your eyesight, special people in your life, and so on. On your way to work, find 2 or 3 things that you’re grateful for and reap the benefit of the dopamine you produce naturally.
Now, get ready for greater satisfaction and happiness in your day.