This month we’re focusing on another basic emotion of the seven identified by psychologist Dr. Paul Ekman… HAPPINESS.
Happiness is a great emotion; it’s by far the easiest to deal with. And the best way to experience it is to let it flow through you and enjoy the moment.
On an emotional level, we can feel happiness in a number of ways — from subtle contentment to tearful glee and raging elation.
On a scientific level, we feel happiness in our neurotransmitters. Happiness hormones include dopamine (makes us feel good), serotonin (reduces depression) and endorphins (make us happy and help to reduce physical pain).
There are many benefits to being positive and happy:
- It promotes a healthier lifestyle by helping you sleep better, eat healthier and encouraging physical activity.
- With a healthier lifestyle in place, it supports longevity.
- Endorphins fight stress and pain.
- It lowers blood pressure and makes the heart healthy.
- It boosts the immune system and promotes wound healing.
But happiness is not always marked by noticeable butterflies in your stomach and an increased heart rate, sometimes just the little things in life like your morning cup of coffee can make you feel more affectionate, cheerful, co-operative, content, caring, fulfilled, inspired, joyful, loving, pleased, playful, relaxed, satisfied, secure, serene, sociable, thankful.
Activities like going for a walk in nature, petting a dog or cat, kissing a loved one, and cuddles on the couch can help our neurotransmitters do their job.
The question is, can happiness ever become a problem that needs addressing? And surprisingly, the answer is yes.
Experiences that make you feel good and release endorphins activate your brain’s reward centre and can cause your brain to focus more of its attention on the experience – one of the main reasons people become addicted to certain behaviours, like drug and alcohol abuse. The reality is that addiction provides only an illusion of happiness.
When this becomes a problem, you may need support getting back on track and Quandary Pond is here to help you.