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Are You Happy? Do You Want to Be? Hear This Out!

There are many different texts about happiness, both online and within hard copy books. Still, not all of them give good pieces of advice. Nor do they rely on scientifically proven facts. We tried to write a different kind of article that relies on the scientifically proven facts. Here it is. All those pieces of information given here are based on the neuroscience. Actually, we took opinions given by a UCLA neuroscience researcher, Alex Korb who wrote a book titled The Upward Spiral.


Let’s hear what he has to say how can we start being happy.

 Start with defining your mood

”Despite their differences, pride, shame, and guilt all activate similar neural circuits, including the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, amygdala, insula, and the nucleus accumbens. Interestingly, pride is the most powerful of these emotions at triggering activity in these regions — except in the nucleus accumbens, where guilt and shame win out. This explains why it can be so appealing to heap guilt and shame on ourselves — they’re activating the brain’s reward center.” 

There is always some reason for your unhappiness. For example, if you feel shame or guilt they can make you feel bad, and simply worrying might make you feel a bit better. Mr. Alex Korb described this in his book, saying that worrying can help calm the limbic system. What actually happens is that this anxiety we feel while by worrying about a certain problem is something that we actually do about it. Well, it is logical in a way. Doing something about our problem—even worrying if nothing more efficient—is better than doing nothing.

At those occasions when we have a problem, we should think about the things we are grateful for. Thus, we should focus on the positive aspects of our lives. Gratitude works as a kind of antidepressant. It boosts neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin and makes us feel better (if not happy).

Even if it happens that you don’t find anything to be grateful for, it is searching that counts. Additionally, showing gratitude towards other people creates a positive circle of things.It creates a positive feedback loop in your relationships.

 Identify your negative feelings

If you feel awful, you should know the source of that feeling. Are you sad or angry and thus feeling that awfulness? Putting your feelings into words is more important than anything else on your way to your happiness.

”In one study, appropriately titled “Putting Feelings into Words” participants viewed pictures of people with emotional facial expressions. Predictably, each participant’s amygdala activated to the emotions in the picture. But when they were asked to name the emotion, the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex activated and reduced the emotional amygdala reactivity. In other words, consciously recognizing the emotions reduced their impact.” — Alex Korb

So, by naming the emotions you feel, you make them less strong. On the other hand, suppressing emotions is bad for you, and it was proven to be backfiring. Even though people with suppressed feelings look fine on the outside, on the inside, their limbic system is just as aroused as without suppression, and sometimes even more aroused.

Using just a few words to describe the actual emotion is more than enough to make that emotion weaker.

 Take action!

Decision making reduces worrying and anxiety and helps in solving problems.

”Making decisions includes creating intentions and setting goals — all three are part of the same neural circuitry and engage the prefrontal cortex in a positive way, reducing worry and anxiety. Making decisions also helps overcome striatum activity, which usually pulls you toward negative impulses and routines. Finally, making decisions changes your perception of the world — finding solutions to your problems and calming the limbic system,”says Alex Korb in his book.

 Make physical contact with people

The majority of people feel better when loved and accepted by others, even strangers. On the other hand, social exclusion activates the same circuitry as physical pain. Even a small change in the attitude of a person towards worse is enough to elicit feelings of social exclusion. Touching can be extremely powerful since it both reduces and causes pain.

Hugs are highly beneficial, but not those short ones. One strong hug releases a neurotransmitter and hormone oxytocin, and we already know what happens next.

”One of the primary ways to release oxytocin is through touching. Obviously, it’s not always appropriate to touch most people, but small touches like handshakes and pats on the back are usually okay. For people you’re close with, make more of an effort to touch more often,” says Alex Korb 

So to conclude, our interpersonal communication and relationships are very important to our brain’s feeling of happiness even though we might not be aware of it.

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