I was reading an article this morning about how the human brain rewards negative thinking. It explained that as a natural defense mechanism, our brains are wired to reward the negative thoughts with a rush of dopamine.
Paying attention to the negative is what has kept the human race alive. The article made the comparison of stopping to smell the roses or paying attention to the tiger stalking you behind the roses. The negative was rewarded in your brain as a feedback loop to keep you alive. The brain’s default position is negative. The article explained how happiness took effort. Happiness definitely is not the default setting of our brain. You have to get out and experience life. You have to make the effort to be a part of something.
I’ve learned just coasting through your day doing the things you have to do definitely doesn’t make you happy. You have to experience more of life than just working and going home and watching TV.
I am the father of two boys and have a wonderful wife. I feel like I owe it to them to give them life experiences. My oldest, eleven, is very active in sports and school. He also trains in jiu Jitsu with me. The little one is only three, but when we are training he is right there with us. Giving them experience also means preparing them for life. As a western society we tend to think our school system prepares our kids for life. It does only to a point, but it is up us to prepare them. Ok that is a topic for another day, but I want to get back to happiness. It is a simple formula. Happiness is doing.
The more I learn about how the brain operates, the more I believe happiness lies in the zero mind. If you are not familiar with the concept, the zero mind is what people refer to when you talk about someone being in the zone. Happiness is in the zone. Happiness is about doing activities that are fun and stimulating to your brain. Since the brain defaults to the negative, the only way to combat this is keep it busy. You turn off the negative by being in the moment. For me, this happens anytime I am working out or at jiu Jitsu class, or playing with my kids. Jiu Jitsu Class is a place of zero mind for me. It is a place I lose myself from the everyday. I am happy in the doing. My brain is shut off from the negative and the nowness of jiu Jitsu is the only thing that fills it. The doing is what shuts off the negative from your brain. Whatever your zero mind activity is get out there and do it. Get your wife, your girlfriend, and your kids out there doing something. You brain will thank you for it. You kids and your significant other will also. Don’t forget to get your family involved. Spend time doing. Shut of the negative and be in the zero.