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Archive for the ‘happiness is a skill’ Tag

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The human brain is often compared to a computer.  But that isn’t really a perfect analogy.  In a computer you can input the data once and the computer will always remember it, even if you don’t access it for a week, or a month, or a year.  The brain is more of a “use it or lose it” kind of operation.  Also, a computer is a static device.  The parts it has in the configuration they are in will be the same today as tomorrow no matter what input you place in it.  The brain grows according to focus.  And it connects like with like.

So the more time you spend dwelling on a particular thought or emotion the more you solidify it in your mind.  You also grow that area of your brain.  And those areas will reach out and make connections to other areas that are similar or that you associate the emotion with.

The more time you spend on one input the less you spend on another.  So if you spend more time focusing on good and happy thoughts that build and nurture, you have less time to spend thinking negative thoughts that tear your down and harm you.  This builds the happy areas of your brain, connects you better with that happiness, and also over time causes the negative areas to fade away and lose power.

An easy way to do this is to devote a little bit of time in the morning and night to reading a list of positive affirmations.  You can use a list that you create so it’s personalized to you, or you can use a list you’ve downloaded from the internet.  If you use Google images to search for “positive affirmation list” you’ll come up with plenty of options.  Just find the ones that speak to you or you feel a pull towards.

As soon after you wake up in the morning as you can, take the list out and just read through it 3-5 times, depending on how long the list is and how much time you can devote to the practice.  At the end of the day, preferably right before you go to sleep, read the list 3-5 times again.  If you want to have a separate list for morning and evening that works too.  Also, if you have down time during the day, or just feel you need a pick me up, go ahead and read the list again for as long as time permits.

It’s just that simple.  It takes a short amount of time out of your day.  Over time the practice reinforces the happy parts of your brain, making you naturally happier.  And it becomes a positive feedback loop.  So even when you’re not reading your list your thoughts will tend to be happier.  And over time the negativity will fade away.

So before you go to bed tonight make, or download, a list and check it twice (or 3-5 times).  Program your brain daily and the connection between yourself and happiness will literally become thicker and thicker until there is only room for happiness in your mind.  Have a great day.  Peace.

 

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Quick Thought   2 comments

So I applied for a job last night that requires good typing skills.  Not exceptional typing skills but good ones.  I’m getting up early tomorrow to go in and take a typing test before I head to work.  As such I decided it may be a good idea to take an online typing test to see how rusty I am.

Turns out I’m plenty rusty.  The last time I took a typing test to look for a job was over a decade and a half ago.  Adjusted for no errors my typing speed was 67 words per minute.  I was actually faster than that I just oops’d a few times knocking my score down.  When the woman told me my speed I was a little disappointed.  I knew I was faster than that. She was surprised.  She said my speed was well above most who tested for the job (Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles, if you were curious).  That was my last official typing speed test.

Tomorrow I have to beat 35 words per minute. Remembering my last official test I wasn’t too worried when I heard that.  After a few practice tests online, I’m still not worried, but also not quite as cocky as I was earlier.  My first go was 45 words per minute, well under my old speed.  And my accuracy was just a smidge over 90%.  Not my best showing, even if it would have counted as a pass on the typing test.  I did the test over a few times and I’ve gotten my speed back up to 64 words per minute over a couple of tests.  So I’m certain I’ll do fine on the typing test.

Why do I bring this up?  Simply, I had a good skill back in the day that I lost to a certain extent because I didn’t make use of it.  I typed all the time back then.  I was in college and had tons of papers to write.  And a very bad habit of putting them off until the last minute.  So quick typing was a necessity.  Now, aside from the blog, I just don’t need to type that much.  So my skill has waned a bit.

Happiness works the same way.  You can’t practice happiness until you get a good “happiness speed” and then coast on it.  It’s a skill you need to hone every day.  If you aren’t practicing happiness and gratitude daily, over time you’ll lose the “skill”.  You just won’t be as happy.

I’ve learned a valuable lesson.  I’m going to test my typing skills regularly.  Maybe even invest in a good typing program to challenge myself.  I’m also going to take this little epiphany to remember to also keep up on my happiness and gratitude practice.  While keeping up my typing skills may land me a good job tomorrow, keeping up my happiness and gratitude skills will land me a good life.  And it can for you too.  Have a great day.