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Posted:     Post subject: happiness is?

I think that the subject of happiness is pretty complicated; 1) because it is not well-defined, 2)because it involves many brain pieces and systems, and 3) because it is a subjective experience.

In response to the mind bender, I would say that the influence of neurochemicals etc... is not constant in influence over our "consciousness" because our consciousness is not a single thing. Our conscious consciousnesses is probably effected in the mid-range from chemical influence because our sub- and un- conscious mediate our awareness to some extent. For example, some people have developed the coping mechanism of blocking out emotional experiences. The experience of emotion originates (physiologically) in the limbic system and may or may not still function in those people but the unconscious can divert awareness away from the consciousness in order to protect the self (just as it may divert awareness of things happening in the environment). Does the subconscious still experience those emotions? I don't know if anyone knows for sure but I would personally guess it does because it seems like the subconscious does a lot of the sorting and connecting of information between the conscious and unconscious self. Um... maybe that means I think our collective states of self-consciousness are most influential in our "happiness."

As far as the experience of happiness-- I think it has to be evaluated more as a system than as a single thing. There is the emotion of happiness- which is essentially the experience of a neurochemical/limbic response; the mood of happiness which may be influenced by the limbic system to some degree (an involuntary process) but is also something that we can consciously choose to alter or experience (frontal lobe- executive) IMO; then there is the state of happiness, which I would see as a longer-term and more holistic experience or mindset, and I think that as a state of being it is more of a product of a system-wide harmony that is likely to be primarily controlled by natural predisposition, the majority or whole of our circumstances, or (in the case of Buddhist monks, for example) the practice of learning to exert control over how our brains manage our experiences (ie mindfulness).

Since happiness is rather complex, it seems that the path to happiness is also not such an easy thing to figure out- but we each seek it in different ways. Perhaps the addict is seeking happiness through the limbic system, forever seeking the temporary happiness of a chemical response to drugs or behaviors. Most of us probably attempt to find the state of happiness by working on the mood element-- and are frustrated by how short-lived and fragile it seems.

From what I can tell, the most reliable type of happiness is the kind that is developed through self-actualization (fulfilling one's potential) and my guess is that the 2 ways we know best about to get there (if we're not lucky enough to be there naturally) is by self-expansion and development or through the meditation or mindfulness that we con observe those super-happy monks using to become the happiest people in the world.

Make Happy Happen
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June 11, 2012
Posts: 1

PostPosted:     Post subject:
Reply with quote
`Happiness is a vehicle, not a destination.

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Posted:     Post subject:

`I believe contentment is more important. Happiness comes and goes but you can be content even during hard times. I think the reason why so many people are miserable is because they spend so much time trying to change reality into what they think life SHOULD be rather than acknowledge what it is and adapt to it. This is a lifestyle in addition to a state of being.

First it requires you to understand there are some things in the world you can't change, with this acknowledgement you can prepare for the unexpected. Pain is inevitable rather than spend energy trying to avoid it steel yourself against it, physically through exercise and mentally through meditation. Learn to appreciate the simpler things in is a limited resource as a result there are going to be many that go without; Friends and family don't cost a dime, neither does love and company. Most importantly learn humility, it's easy to see other people's faults but much harder to admit your own. Its when you turn a blind eye to your own imperfections that you cause yourself the most the end you're less likely to see how your own action contributed to the problem and are more likely to repeat them.

You get the idea, it's not that complicated. We all know how we should live life, sometimes it seems to me that most of us simply ignore the obvious because we like drama. Drama feels good, drama causes pain and pain makes us feel most alive. No one really wants to be happy, it's boring -.-

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Posted:     Post subject:

justplainjane wrote:
`I walked into a Walmart with a friend once and was greeted over-enthusiastically by an overweight mid-40's mentally retarded man with an enormous cheese eating grin on his face. He offered me a yellow smiley sticker which I politely declined.
I was having a self-pity day and turned to my friend and sourly said, "Whose life sucks more, his or mine...?"
He said, "Definitely yours! He loves his job. He's good at his job. He has all his "friends" who come in to see him at work every day. Your life definitely sucks more."
Damn! In retrospect, I should have taken the sticker.

Happiness is perception.

Or he has some uncontrollable twitch that forces him to smile all the time. Seriously though, no matter how crappy my life gets (and it's been pretty bad at times) I wouldn't want to be in his shoes. My intelligence may bring me more pain, but it also allows me to appreciate all the wonders of the world and I stand in awe at the beauty of nature and the human mind. He will never experience anything more than the small simple world his mind has forever restrained him to. I'm not saying he isn't happy, but happiness isn't everything.

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