How to rewire your brain for happiness.
A few thousand years ago, the human brain developed its tendency to wander — constantly checking for external threats to safety while rummaging around inside the head, looking for unresolved drama. These days there is just too much going on.
“An average person has 150 undone tasks at any time,” says Sood. “We get stuck with this wandering mind inside the head, so the external attention has gone inside.”
Our mind wanders so much that we spend at least half of every day in a distracted, barely aware state. We can’t remember what we just read or what the boss told us a minute ago because our mind was somewhere else.
Even worse, the brain is wired to stress us out by automatically focusing on the negative, on what went wrong or what could go wrong. “The brain doesn’t really know how to be happy,” says Sood.
To dial down the stress, we have to develop more focused, sustained attention and learn how to interpret events in a way that helps us cope with uncertainty and constant change.
That sounds like meditation, part of the tradition of Sood’s home country of India. But he says people are so distracted by their jumpy, negativity-obsessed minds that they just can’t concentrate on meditation.
Sood’s guide to stress-free living is different because it is based on neuroscience as well as psychology, philosophy and spirituality and was developed after years of work with over 40,000 patients.
His program helps people focus intentionally on the outside world, on its uniqueness and meaning. “The more intentional your thoughts, the more positive your thinking,” he says. And the more engaged you’ll be each day.
This article pretty much stands without comment except for one:
Isn’t it interesting that when real researchers tackle the subject of happiness, they walk away from Eastern or dissociative styles of meditation (Which focus more on blankness and becoming nothing) and focus solidly on Western styles or associative meditation (which focus on connection with all parts of the self – perhaps with God) and start sounding suspiciously like spiritual leaders teaching gratitude, compassion, acceptance, meaning and forgiveness?
Those long-dead Jesuits may have been on to something after all…