Archives for Happiness
I have been away from this blog for quite awhile due to a health issue requiring surgery and an on-going relationship issue. Both combined is enough to make me think my life over. At this low point in life, existential loneliness is vivid. I have been questioning: Why do good people experience unfairness? What does love mean? What is my life purpose? Am I the cause of these unfavorable incidents? In dark hours, we are so restricted with what we can see, think, and feel at that time. Being around friends and relatives who don't quite understand how things work cognitively might not help because they tend to relate our specific experience with their past experiences, which can be quite different from what we are experiencing.
I admit that I don’t read romance books that much. I read detective and science fiction books, but none of them contain much romantic plot. A practical person by nature, anything “overly romantic” is corny to me. An article by Annie Murphy Paul in New York Times on March 17th, 2012 titled “Your Brain on Fiction” shook my core. Perhaps I should read more romance fictions, or well, at least, more fiction books. Cited from Paul’s article: “Researchers have discovered that words describing motion also stimulate regions of the brain distinct from language-processing areas. In a study led by the cognitive scientist Véronique Boulenger, of the Laboratory of Language Dynamics in France, the brains of participants were scanned as they read sentences like “John grasped the object” and “Pablo kicked the ball.” The scans revealed activity in the motor cortex, which coordinates the body’s movements. What’s more, this activity was concentrated in one part of the motor cortex when the movement described was arm-related and in another part when the movement concerned the leg.
Raising children is about shaping traits and instilling values, not merely about fixing behaviors. Teaching children how to flourish should begin with focusing on their strengths, not their weaknesses. By focusing on their strengths, parents and children are more motivated to work together as a team. But teaching positivity isn’t synonymous with using positive reinforcements all the time. It’s a tricky balance of reframing. Every child is born with his own level of so-called “natural” happiness. Some were born with over-the-top cheerfulness, while others are born with less. This explains why some children are fussier, while others keep grinning from ear to ear, regardless of the mood of the surrounding environment. Happy kids tend to respond differently to failure than not-too-happy kids. Their strengths, however, should be distinguished from their natural level of happiness. Whether your child has a high level of natural happiness or a low level, he must learn to fail.
Copernicus published De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolution of Celestial Spheres) in 1543 and shook the whole world and changed how we see the earth and ourselves today. Prior to this book, it was believed that the earth was the center of the universe and the planets don't revolve around the sun but it was the other way around. Today, we know that the earth and other planets in the solar system revolve around the sun and the Milky Way galaxy consists of many more stars like the sun. Such a paradigm shift takes us to another level of consciousness. It also changes many things in the field of science and the arts. Such a breakthrough clarifies our previously foggy perspective. The field of psychology also experienced such as breakthrough in paradigm shift when pathological perspective was no longer the only way to approach an issue. In this perspective, an individual without any psychological disorder is considered “fine” and doesn't require any psychotherapy. Psychotherapists only work when a patient comes with at least a pathology to investigate, treat, and (hopefully) cure.
What constitutes a "good life" may not be identical from one person to another. This notion, however, can be tracked back to Aristotle’s eudaimonia. “Eudaimonia” means happiness or welfare, which was used by Aristotle as the center of his ideas on ethics and political philosophy. Happiness or welfare makes every effort of any human progress worthwhile, in which virtue and moral wisdom are expected to reside. It’s not about euphoria or instant gratification. In further development of philosophy, numerous models have grown out of it: effectiveness, self-efficacy, mindfulness, awareness, and flow. The “flow” is a concept further developed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, PhD, which is a state of focused concentration. It is also known as a state of intrinsic motivation, in which the activity provides both the motivation and the satisfaction to make one completely immersed in the activity.