Happiness tip 1
Is something dominating your thoughts today? Try journaling.
It’s not uncommon for us to unconsciously lock ourselves into a loop of unhappiness.
What is a dominating thought?
It could be called ruminating, worry or negativity. And it’s not a good thing. Whenever we are worried or stressed about anything. The process creates the same internal state as any negative emotion.
Therefore ruminating is considered a negative emotional state. A middle brain process where negative emotions initiate stress chemicals and hormones to flush through our body and brain; creating the physical sensation of worry and stress.
Why is that important to understand?
In limbic brains’ search for a solution to our discomfort, it scans through millions of memories, for a pattern of behavior that was used in the past, to make this emotional state feel better.
Unfortunately the Limbic brains interpretation of today’s event does not have to be correct. It is simply identifying similarities in emotional patterns.
Here’s an example: Did you ever watch Sesame street? Big Bird and 4 pictures would come onto the TV screen and we were asked to identify similarities or differences.
Which if these things is not like the other. Which of these things doesn’t belong. Well the limbic brains search only reveals the similarity of emotions. How we felt about something. But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be anything like today’s situation. And it doesn’t mean that it was productive. In fact, it only means that your minds attempt to make yourself feel better followed a certain routine.
Why does it matter?
Because just maybe that was eating ice-cream! And you are trying to lose weight. Or any habit. Smoking or taking a drink… It could be almost any addiction. Or it could be anger, unhappiness.
Why does this happen?
These are embedded patterns of behavior deep within the mind. Consider it automated unconscious patterns. A sequence of behavior initiated by our brain meant to temporarily soothe these feelings of discontent, anger, frustration.
What happens next? We often notice that not too much later, the feelings of discontent return. Maybe rumination interrupts a good night’s sleep. You may notice yourself having a quick temper, or procrastination as the emotion rises to the surface again, possibly even accelerating the emotion.
What is even worse?
All result in limiting our ability to make good decisions, to be creative or productive. And even more important, it could interfere with your ability to feel happy.
So what is one solution to help return your sense of self and get you on the road and back to happy?
Journaling; but it must be done in a very specific way.
And I hear you say, why journaling? Sounds way too simple? Or maybe your thought is that it would be time consuming?
But how is journaling part of the solution?
Well a few things happen when you journal. It requires your brain to think. Meaning that journaling takes you out of an emotional state. Emotional processes take place within the Limbic brain. This immediately shifts your brain. By completing a task of journaling, you enter a cognitive function. Writing is cognitive process of the Neo-Cortex. Meaning you are no longer in the Limbic brain and that makes all the difference.
It’s like shifting the gears of your car. When you’re in first gear, you’re not in second. And so on.
You see, the Neo-Cortex is where you think, have the ability to rationalize, analyze and be creative.
About how does that help you? You have removed your focus on emotion, therefore lessoning the focus within the emotional limbic brain.
By giving the Neo-cortex a simple action, you have changed the brains.
How? First by identifying the emotion you are feeling. Secondly, writing the identified emotion into your journal. Writing, spelling and organizing our thoughts all require the neo-cortex to process. Thus our emotions lesson, because we are not in a limbic brain process.
How? Imagine a brain to be like a room in your house. When you are in the room, a light is on. When you leave that room, you turn off the light. Entering a different room, you turn on that light.
When the light is on, that is the brain in use.
How can we even understand ourselves at a deeper level?
Identifying not only why; but when; we feel a certain way. When have you felt this way in the past? Are your current feelings related to an old memory, an old event?
If the emotion was the same as an old event, the memory was triggered. When this happens, that emotion is brought forward in your mind. Like taking a book off the book shelf and looking at it. Even though the event can be different, it is your emotion that was the same or similar in some way.
How can you recognize this? Your reaction was swift.
And how can we stop this from happening? Awareness is a beginning of letting the emotion go. By first bringing the emotion forward, it becomes malleable. This is where the deep thinking process begins.
I can take you there, but if you’re still not ready…. Begin to journal. It is a happiness builder. Happiness tip 1: is journaling.