The (Neuro)Science Of Happiness
Updated: Jan 25
Neuroscience researchers continue to unveil the scientific factors that shape well-being and provide evidence on how it can be used to improve lives. Neuroplasticity studies show that our brains are constantly being shaped throughout our lives to become more efficient. The more we use certain neuron connection networks in the brain the more established they become. We can shape our brains in more adaptive and beneficial ways by cultivating healthy habits of mind. Neuroscience suggests a set of skills that can be learned and cultivated over time to optimise well-being. Mental training in these areas actually rewire the brain. The fours areas are:
Rebounding from Negative Emotion
Mindfulness and Mind-wandering
Caring & Compassion for Others
The scientific findings confirm what ancient wisdom has understood for centuries. When we are fully present, with a quiet, centred mind, we are at our most effective, most creative and happiest. We have more insights, ideas and breakthroughs, stronger decision making, increased confidence and performance and better outcomes. A mind full of chatter, distracted by thoughts of problems, worries or issues, creates feelings of stress and unhappiness. We cannot function at our best. To operate at full capacity and flourish the interference needs to stop.
A recent Neuroscience study tested thousands of people via a simple text message test.
They were asked 3 questions:
1. What are you doing right now?
2. How focused are you (i.e. are you present)
3. How happy are you?
The findings showed that 47% of people spend their waking life not being present or paying attention to what they are doing in the present moment. This is really significant as we also know that when people report themselves to not paying attention to what they are doing they report themselves to be unhappy. The more present we are, the happier we are. Numerous Neuroscience studies have shown that when we are fully present and focused we are at our most effective, most creative and happiest. When we are more focused and aware we have more successful interactions, better decision making, better outcomes.
Meditation is a performance enhancing tool - it improves our capacity to focus, have more clarity and be more effective. Even with short amounts of meditation we feel less stressed, more calm, we’re more resilient and are more productive. Recent Neuroscience studies have shown that within 2 weeks of practising meditation for just 20 minutes per day it positively changes the Neuroplasticity of the brain. Mediation also enhances the capacity of deep sleep to be restorative for both body and mind, for stronger functioning of the brain.
Working with a qualified specialist Well-being Coach can help retrain the brain to overcome habitual negative patterns, become more mindful and resilient, increasing positivity and allowing happiness to become a permanent state of being.