Pay Attention! How Being Less Distracted Will Make You Happy

A recent post (Via Yes Magazine) drew our attention in the identification of four constituents that have each received serious scientific attention in the pursuit of happiness. Each of these four is rooted in neural circuits, and each of these neural circuits exhibits plasticity—so we know that if we exercise these circuits, they will strengthen. Practicing these four skills can provide the substrate for enduring change, which can help to promote higher levels of well-being in our lives.

The article outlines them in detail…

Resilience - in part developed through mindful meditation - is the rapidity with which we recover from adversity; some people recover slowly and other people recover more quickly. We know that individuals who show a more rapid recovery in certain key neural circuits have higher levels of well-being. They are protected in many ways from the adverse consequences of life’s slings and arrows.

Outlook - is the ability to see the positive in others, the ability to savor positive experiences, the ability to see another human being as a human being who has innate basic goodness. As the post states “unlike with resilience, research indicates that simple practices of loving kindness and compassion meditation may alter this circuitry quite quickly, after a very, very modest dose of practice”. 

Attention - This quality of attention is so fundamentally important that William James, in his famous two-volume tome The Principles of Psychology, has a whole chapter on attention. He said that the ability to voluntarily bring back a wandering attention over and over again is the very root of judgment, character, and will. 

Generosity - There is now a plethora of data showing that when individuals engage in generous and altruistic behavior, they actually activate circuits in the brain that are key to fostering well-being. 

Our brains are constantly being shaped wittingly or unwittingly—most of the time unwittingly. Through the intentional shaping of our minds, we canshape our brains in ways that enable these four fundamental constituents of well-being to be strengthened. In that way, we can take responsibility for our own minds.

(This post comes from our Designing Deeper blog)
(Este post foi retirado do nosso blog Designing Deeper)