Archive for the ‘Relationship’ Category

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.

​​I have been a lifelong martial artist. I have trained and competed, and trained some more. I have lived and breathed martial arts. I ran my own school for almost 15 years. I put in tons of hours training fighters, watching video, and studying fighters. Now this is not a bad thing, but it does become a perdominant part of your life. When something saturates your whole being like this you want to tell everyone about it. You want to talk about with your friends, your parents, your coworkers, and of course your spouse. Whatever you do, do not do this. This was a hard lesson for me to learn. My life was so concentrated on martial arts, mixed martial arts particularly. I wanted to tell everyone especially my wife. I bombarded her with conversation about this fighter or this event. I dragged her to MMA shows. I constantly watched MMA on TV. I even ran my own amateur MMA promotion for seven years. MMA at our house was bread and butter. You could not escape it. I noticed after awhile our conversations started to wane. We were not talking as much. I was so focused on MMA I didn’t know what to talk to my best friend about. We have been together over seven years , not nearly enough time to run out of things to discuss. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t like we weren’t speaking, I just had my focus to narrow. I learned the hard way, that she supported me, but did not love it like I did. She was just tired of hearing about it. She was tired of watching it, and tired of living and breathing it. I have finally closed my school and my MMA promotion. This was probably one of the happiest moments of my life. The stress that was lifted from me was incredible. It also meant that MMA was not the main focus in my life anymore. I still train BJJ and MMA occasionally. I have a gym at my house and go to BJJ class a couple a nights a week. I have learned to have normal husband and wife conversations again. The best thing you can do is never talk about your hobbies with your spouse unless they start the conversation. Know when to keep your mouth shut. One more thing, talk to your spouse. Let them know how you feel. Especially if you are the one on the other side of the conversation. Communicate, everyday.