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How to be happy-learn from the happiest man on earth

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Meet the happiest man in the world Matthieu Ricard. This 69-year-old is a Tibetan Buddhist monk originally from France. He came to be known as the “world’s happiest man” when he participated in a 12-year brain study on meditation and compassion led by a neuroscientist from the University of Wisconsin, Richard Davidson. Davidson hooked up Ricard’s head to 256 sensors and found that when Ricard was meditating on compassion, his mind was unusually light. Ricard – who says he sometimes meditates for entire days without getting bored – admits he’s a generally happy person although he feels his “happiest man” title is a media-driven overstatement.

He spoke with an international daily at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Here’s his advice for how to be happy. To Ricard, the answer comes down to altruism. The reason is because thinking about yourself, and how to make things better for yourself all the time, is exhausting, stressful, and ultimately leads to unhappiness. “It’s not the moral ground,” Ricard explained. “It’s simply that me, me, me all day long is very stuffy. And it’s quite miserable because you instrumentalize the whole world as a threat, or as a potential sort of interest [to yourself].”

If you want to be happy, Ricard says you should strive to be “benevolent,” which will not only make you feel better, but it will also make others like you better. (That’s not to say you should let other people take advantage of you, Ricard warns, but you should generally strive to be kind within reason.) “If your mind is filled with benevolence, you know – the passion and solidarity.

This is a very healthy state of mind that is conducive to flourishing,” Ricard says. “So you, yourself, are in a much better mental state. Your body will be healthier, so [it] has been shown. And also, people will perceive it as something nice.” That all sounds great in theory, but how does a person actually become altruistic and benevolent and not let selfish thoughts creep in? But, like a marathon runner who needs to train before he or she can run 42 km, people who want to be happier need to train their minds.

Ricard’s preferred way of training his is meditation. “With mental training, we can always bring [our level of happiness] to a different level,” Ricard explains. “It’s like running. If I train, I might run a marathon. I might not become an Olympic champion, but there is a huge difference between training and not training. So why should that not apply to the mind? . There is a view that benevolence, attention, emotional balance and resilience are skills that can be trained. So if you put them all together, you could say that happiness is a skill that can be trained.”

Ok, so how does one train their mind to be happier? Start by thinking happy thoughts for 10 to 15 minutes per day, Ricard says. Typically when we experience feelings of happiness and love, it’s fleeting and then something else happens, and we move on to the next thought. But Ricard says instead, concentrate on not letting your mind get distracted and keep focused on the positive emotions for the next stretch of time.

And if you do that training every day, even just two weeks later you can feel positive mental results. And if you practice that for 50 years like Ricard has, you can become a happiness pro too. That’s backed up by neuroscientists, by the way. Davidson found from his study that even 20 minutes of daily meditation can make people much happier overall.

This article was first published at dailyhunt.in. Image- matthieuricard.org

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Why Worry? These Techniques will Teach How to be Happy!

Learn how to stop worrying with these simple strategies

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How to stop worrying
Cluster of anxious thoughts. Pixabay

New Delhi, August 14, 2017: Worry is a story that we create inside and we use it to create fear. You tend to create fear of something which has to happen in the near future and by worrying, you deplete your strength and energy so much that by the time the situation arises, you would have made yourself already a weak person. What’s expected in such situations is to keep yourself strong so that you can face the situation and respond to the situation with an open mind.

Our every thought, every word and every action are our own creation. Circumstances come to us externally, but our responses are completely our choice. One must admit that there are some things in life which cannot be changed and problems will continue to persist, however, one must learn how to stop worrying.

How to Stop Worrying?

Worry is a delusion

You worry about things that ought to occur in the future. Worries are primarily the monsters you build in your head and are just in your head. It is a sheer misuse of your imagination. A single liberated thought devoid of tensions can make your day.

Incorporate mindfulness

The most efficient technique to stop worrying is to inculcate mindfulness, which involves nonjudgmental awareness of present thoughts and emotions. Make yourself consciously aware of the fact that worries are going to persist for an indefinite period of time but that should not take away your sanity. Also, have a deeper understanding of the fact that worries can never change the outcomes/end result, so deal with the situation rather wasting time and energy on ruminating.

Acceptance

Accepting worries help the person to move on and pass out the situation with ease. Those who are naturally more welcoming of their intrusive feelings are less obsessional, have lower levels of distress, and are less worried.

Gulping Sweets

Sweets are believed to enlighten the mood of the person. Devour your favorite sweets and forget about worries. Whenever a nerve racking thought occurs,  Go ahead and grab a chocolate bar.

Also Read: Planning to Set a Goal? Here’s What You Need to Know! 

Forest Therapy indulgence

Forest therapy promotes relaxation and reduces the activity of sympathetic nerves associated with “fight or flight” reactions to stress.

Pen down your worries

Penning down your own thought might be counterintuitive, but it’s almost similar to emptying the fears out of your mind. You tend to reevaluate that situation so that you’re less likely to worry about those situations.

Cooking is therapeutic

Cooking helps in combating stress and ease the stress levels. When you prepare a recipe, you only focus on one thing and by doing that you spend less time on worrying about issues that concern you.

Soul awakening through meditation

Anxiety disorders are due to the repetitive, anxious, often baseless thoughts and worries about the future. However, practicing meditation awakens the soul and brings the mind to zero thoughts, which is imperative for the mind wanderers.

Keep the hands busy

Keeping your hands busy can help keep your mind off of worries.  Keeping your hands and mind working conflicts with storing and encoding visual images, which explains why worry beads and knitting calm us down.

Rational thinking

People tend to worry about things they have no control over. It doesn’t change the situation anyways. It is better to stay practical in such situations and so that you are able to respond to the situation open mindedly.


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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Exclusive: The need to Build Emotional Intelligence in Children

Tracking and cultivating a child’s emotional and social strengths helps in building a strong foundation for future

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depression and anxiety issues in Children
Chief Psychologist Sadia Saeed Raval of Inner Space.
  • It is observed that a positive environment around the kid helps them manage personal feelings better
  • Reducing dependency helps the child decide and learn through trial/error method
  • Mindfulness and meditation is the key, says Sadia Saeed Raval, the chief psychologist at Inner Space

New Delhi, July 26, 2017: Ever since its inception, emotional intelligence is considered as a spectral key to success. Even though the concept has recently gained popularity, traditionally there have been contradictory opinions on it and it is commonly misconstrued, discarded or highly favored. But to truly capture the ideology behind “emotional intelligence” and to be able to incorporate it in our personal lives, we need to understand what it means.

Reporter Nivedita Motwani of NewsGram got in touch with Chief Psychologist at Inner Space Therapy, a counseling and psychotherapy center to discuss the importance of emotional intelligence in children.

While depression and anxiety issues are being more commonly diagnosed in the adults and the youth across the globe, a larger cause of concern is the alarming rate at which these issues are increasing amongst children. In a WHO report, it was observed that almost 5 crore people are being diagnosed with depression in India and an alarming rate of that fraction was from the age slab of 15-29 years.

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to make emotions work for you, rather than against you. Click To Tweet

Depression and anxiety related issues are rising in the kids in recent times, be it because of cut-throat competitions or bullying. Kids are becomings emotionally vulnerable and more prone to such disorders. Building their emotional graph at an early stage has become very necessary in recent times. It is often observed that kids with a higher emotional intelligence grow up to be well rounded human being and contribute more positively to the environment as opposed to the ones who are not very responsive to emotional and social activities.

ALSO READ: ‘How Can I Build Emotional Intelligence?’ Try These 7 Essential Techniques

The Importance of a Positive Environment: There are several reasons affecting the child’s temperament – it can be inborn or conditioned culturally or caused by disabilities. Most of the behavior is modeled by adults, active influences, and the environment around them; the positive environment is manifested in the child’s temperament and reactive abilities. It is integrated in the manner in which they manage their personal feelings as they grow and begin to actively participate in social exchanges.

Reducing Dependency is the Key: Often parents make their kids highly dependent on them and limit their experiences by controlling their reactions. Kids when taught to decide for them, begin to learn through trial/error method and grow emotionally. They learn through mistakes and tiny milestones, and when an experience like – learning to socially indulge, comes from within; they lack social awkwardness and grow up to be confident individuals. While parents may find it difficult to transfer such responsibility to their kids, as they might consider their children to be gullible and naive and might feel the need to protect them. But the only way they can protect them is by not inducing the need for dependency and by gradually teaching their kids to tackle situations on their own.

Recovery through Mindful Indulgences: When NewsGram asked Sadia Saeed Raval, Chief Psychologist at Inner Space Therapy, a counseling and psychotherapy Center that how the kids in therapy are treated and what engagement methods she uses to make kids comfortable? She said, ‘Child counseling primarily involves ‘play therapy’ in addition to the commonly used talk therapy. Children, owing to their still developing language and communication skills often cannot express themselves verbally. They can relate to symbols better, such as are found in stories, picture books, puppets, and drawings. This also makes therapy enjoyable for children.’

She further explained that at Inner Space they follow the 3 steps sessions, i.e. – through self-expression, identifying the root of behavior, and thereafter, modifying behavior.

– reported by Nivedita Motwani of NewsGram. Twitter @Mind_Makeup


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.

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Here’s how the Science links Yoga to Happiness!

There is science behind the fact that Yoga makes the individual happier

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Happiness
Yoga poses heighten self-esteem of the individual. Wikimedia
  • In a recent study carried out by Professor of Psychology at University of London, Agnieszka Golec de Zavala, participants participated in two different postures
  • While some did Yoga poses, others did power poses (for two minutes) while researchers studied the psychological effects
  • Feelings of heightened self-esteem and energy was seen in those who did the Yoga postures 

July 21, 2017: Recently, a study was carried out led by Agnieszka Golec de Zavala, professor of psychology at University of London to understand how science can link yoga to happiness. Participants did Yoga poses and power poses for two minutes while the researchers studied their psychological effects.

It was observed that individuals who tried the yoga poses had heightened self-esteem, more energy and over all happiness.

There are different theories as to why this may be true. One of the theory is that the tenth cranial nerve, which is longest nerve in the automatic nervous system responsible for unconcious functions of the body and emotional regulations is somehow linked to Yoga’s psychological effects.

The asanas of Yoga combined with regulated breathing and mind meditation is a healthy lifestyle both mentally and physically. Today, Yoga is popular in most countries of the western societies.

ALSO READ: Here’s Why Yoga is the Potential Game Changer in India’s Soft Power!

Many studies have established a clear relation between Yoga and the state of happiness. Yoga helps relieve chronic pain. It is also helpful in regulating diabetes, asthma, lymphoma and artery disease. Mental health problems such as depression and disorders can also be successfully managed through Yoga.

Happiness and Yoga are co-related Click To Tweet

A healthy lifestyle can be achieved if Yoga is incorporated into the daily life of the individual. Yoga helps distract the mind through negativity and chaos. Fatigue can be reduced through Yoga as well.

Yoga is also a great way to heighten self-esteem. There have been few studies by science to demonstrate how a posture has an impact on the psychological state of the individual.

The participants who did Yoga poses felt much higher self-esteem than those individuals who did the power poses. They had more energy and empowered attitude about themselves.

The power poses may come across as a more dominant posture, but it was the Yoga poses that helped brain form an empowered image of the self.

The vagus nerve is important in this whole process. It connects the body to the brain. It is a central organ in the automatic nervous system. It regulates breathing, digestion and heart rate.

– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: Saksham2394