Way To Happiness Rediscovered Through Science - Page 2
Although this seems to be a paradox, health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, who teaches at Stanford University explained, “When the mind wanders to a happy memory, it tends to eventually turn back to things that aren't quite as positive." Killingsworth explained it in terms of a concept, what he called "default mode, a non-pleasant thought stuck in the brain. For instance, while remembering about a romantic Paris honeymoon, one may come back to the thought of the overpriced hotel that is deeply etched in the memory and became a "default mode." His advice is, contemplate the past to learn from it, but then move on, so that in the future you are prepared to avoid the default mode.
Killingsworth thinks that this default mode probably gave us an advantage by making us watchful to dangers in our hunting and gathering stages of evolution. McGonigal said, "We maximized our survival chances even if we didn't maximize our happiness, evolution doesn't give a damn about happiness." In our time, however, we give paramount importance to happiness, and McGonigal said that we can increase our happiness by keeping our mental focus, or mindfulness, by practicing certain skills regularly.
Wondering what they are? Go see a Zen teacher, or an Indian Yogi, for they are exactly similar techniques that McGonigal prescribes: Live in the moment. Here are five techniques from McGonigal summarized by Deborah Kotz, in her article, Want to Be Happier? Keep Your Focus:
1. Begin the day with a focused task: Be in tune with whatever you are doing.
2. Exercise with alertness: Immerse yourself in it, feel it, sense it, live it.
3. Engulf yourself in a good book or movie: Live the scenes, engross yourself.
4. Reduce multitasking: This breeds tension and unhappiness.
5. Meditate: Practice five to 10 minutes of daily meditation.
You say, you heard them before? I agree. Nonetheless, when we re-discover the ancient truth with new scientific research, it gives wings to the old thoughts, and make them more believable, and more effective, for it is our faith that gives real strength to any construct to be useful in our lives.