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4 Rituals That Will Make You Happy, According to Neuroscience (TIME)

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entremet

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http://time.com/4042834/neuroscience-happy-rituals/
http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2015/09/make-you-happy-2/
Ask a question, label emotions, make decisions and give hugs

You get all kinds of happiness advice on the Internet from people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Don’t trust them.

Actually, don’t trust me either. Trust neuroscientists. They study that gray blob in your head all day and have learned a lot about what truly will make you happy.

UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb has some insights that can create an upward spiral of happiness in your life. Here’s what you and I can learn from the people who really have answers:

1. Ask yourself, what are you grateful for?

The searching is what matters, not what actual things you're grateful for incidentally:

One powerful effect of gratitude is that it can boost serotonin. Trying to think of things you are grateful for forces you to focus on the positive aspects of your life. This simple act increases serotonin production in the anterior cingulate cortex.

2. Label Negative Feeling. Suppressing emotions doesn't work.

Gross found that people who tried to suppress a negative emotional experience failed to do so. While they thought they looked fine outwardly, inwardly their limbic system was just as aroused as without suppression, and in some cases, even more aroused. Kevin Ochsner, at Columbia, repeated these findings using an fMRI. Trying not to feel something doesn’t work, and in some cases even backfires.

Additionally,

To reduce arousal, you need to use just a few words to describe an emotion, and ideally use symbolic language, which means using indirect metaphors, metrics, and simplifications of your experience. This requires you to activate your prefrontal cortex, which reduces the arousal in the limbic system. Here’s the bottom line: describe an emotion in just a word or two, and it helps reduce the emotion.

3. Make That Decision. Procrastination increases worry and anxiety, so be more decisive.

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.

if you're a perfectionist, focus on the good and not the best to make decisions.

Trying for the best, instead of good enough, brings too much emotional ventromedial prefrontal activity into the decision-making process. In contrast, recognizing that good enough is good enough activates more dorsolateral prefrontal areas, which helps you feel more in control…

Go for good enough.

4. Touch People. Give and receive hugs.

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.

Oxytocin is one of the brain's feel good chemicals.

Touching someone you love actually reduces pain!

In fact, when studies were done on married couples, the stronger the marriage, the more powerful the effect.

In addition, holding hands with someone can help comfort you and your brain through painful situations. One fMRI study scanned married women as they were warned that they were about to get a small electric shock. While anticipating the painful shocks, the brain showed a predictable pattern of response in pain and worrying circuits, with activation in the insula, anterior cingulate, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. During a separate scan, the women either held their husbands’ hands or the hand of the experimenter. When a subject held her husband’s hand, the threat of shock had a smaller effect. The brain showed reduced activation in both the anterior cingulate cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex— that is, less activity in the pain and worrying circuits. In addition, the stronger the marriage, the lower the discomfort-related insula activity.

In summary:

Here’s what brain research says will make you happy:

Ask “What am I grateful for?” No answers? Doesn’t matter. Just searching helps.

Label those negative emotions. Give it a name and your brain isn’t so bothered by it.

Decide. Go for “good enough” instead of “best decision ever made on Earth.”

Hugs, hugs, hugs. Don’t text — touch.
 

Chariot

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What a bummer, sacrifying a goat and eating it's heart and fucking a dead pig head didn't make the cut.
 
D

Deleted member 47027

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I was hoping for something a little more Satanic.
 

Orbis Tabula

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Two and three are things I try to do, and they definitely help. There are a lot of times when I'll be depressed, doing nothing all day. The times when I snap out of it are usually when I stop and say "Heyy you're depressed. Why are you depressed? Maybe you should stand up, go outside, and do something." Even if it's just grocery shopping or something stupid like that, it does a lot to break me out of my rut.
 

dity

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Touch me? But Sonic sez

 
Jun 27, 2010
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Long hugs with a girlfriend/partner you haven't seen for a few days are incredible.

Just feeling them in your arms, their arms wrapping around you, the smell of their hair and their perfume, just feeling them against you.

Ugh, now I need a hug and I'm not seeing my girlfriend until Monday.
 

Sub Boss

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Mar 6, 2013
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omg thank you!

im trying to meditate due to depression then one day i remember i still have a lot of things i am grateful for, no matter what, that made me feel better instantly :)

I always wanted to someday go out there and hug random people! :p
But not now when im afraid of them, it gives me panic attacks :/

im reallllly awful at making decisions too, go outside and buy food or starve? hmmmmm
 

Somnid

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Neuroscience also says you should own a gun. Guns reduce stress of thoughts about your family being brutally murdered.
 

Rentahamster

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Gross found that people who tried to suppress a negative emotional experience failed to do so. While they thought they looked fine outwardly, inwardly their limbic system was just as aroused as without suppression, and in some cases, even more aroused. Kevin Ochsner, at Columbia, repeated these findings using an fMRI. Trying not to feel something doesn’t work, and in some cases even backfires.


Take that, you stupid Jedi. From my point of view, the Jedi are evil!
 
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