Marci Shimoff's book, "Happiness for No Reason": my 4th posting of 5
My list of interesting points she makes:
Ch.4, The Mind (thoughts, beliefs, self-talk)
-can make a hell of heaven, and a heaven of hell
-to receive true happiness and inner peace, you have to change the way you think
-should support happiness, not sabotage it.
-scientists say we have about 60k thoughts a day, and 95% are habitual
-negative thoughts are common, say 80% of those 60k (more than 45k!)
-Dr. Amen calls them ANTs, Automatic Negative Thoughts
-these thoughts stimulate depression and anxiety, whereas
-positive thoughts are calming and beneficial.
(like poison and medicine)
-the solution is to know that Your thoughts aren't alway true.
-so, judging, worrying, overthinking, dwelling on the bad is contractive, while
-accepting, trusting, clear thinking, and savoring the good is expansive
-we most often aren't, or hardly, even aware that our thoughts might not be true
-negative thoughts are more powerful than positive ones, we're wired that way by evolution.
-it's called the 'negativity bias'
-the physiological reason negative experiences are "sticky" is the amygdala
-that's the part of the brain that sets off the alarm for fight or flight
-heart rate, adrenaline, and stress hormones go up
-many have overactive amygdalas, to boot ("hot"), and without fighting or fleeing
-the chemicals accumulate, causing fatigue and disease
-this is a major obstacle to happiness, and people with hot amygdalas
-have short fuses, panic easily, and make mountains of molehills
-are drama queens, rage-aholics, worrywarts, and chronic complainers
-there's hope. neuroplasticity research shows how new thoughts create a new brain,
-and maybe even alters your dna itself, she says (in quoting Dr. Davidson)
-"You can't paste a smiley face over your pain or spread a layer of icing over cake that's burned to a cinder."
-Neocortex to the rescue! it's where happiness lives (left prefrontal area o' brain)
-more alpha wave activity is the sign of a happy brain
-happy people are:
more skeptical of negative thoughts, question alarms, and override them when necessary
-are aware of the negativity bias, don't fight with them, "and go beyond the mind." (?)
-register their positive thoughts, and savor their positive experiences
-a jesuit said the false beliefs in your head are the Only cause of unhappiness, or
-as a tibetan monk said, "the real enemy of happiness is the mind's fixations and delusions."
-for any given disturbing thoughts or interpretations of events, ask yourself:
-is it true? can you absolutely know it's true? how do you react when you believe that thought? who would you be without that thought? This is called The Work, by Katie
-asking these questions is a way to experience the opposite of what you believe.
-She has it in bold-face, "All suffering comes from believing our own thoughts"
-This guy named Bruce, in his testimony to MS, says that he's "come to a place of real peacefulness, of letting go and accepting things as being just what they are and nothing more," despite a painful divorce, through The Work.
-specifically, the pain was reduced/eliminated happily, through the process of questioning his own assumptions, which led to the realization that the situation itself was not the source of his pain, but rather his interpretation of it.
-Epictetus, a Greek philosopher, said "We are disturbed bot by what happens to us, but by our thoughts about what happens.
-the bottom line: thoughts come and go, relationships and pain come and go, and clinging to your stories about what you think you want and need is a surefire recipe for suffering.
-that's only part of the story for being happy (in the mental sphere)
-A simple, effective technique called the Sedona method, a tool for personal growth, a way of letting go of all inner limitations, goes something like this:
-hold a pen. it represents your thoughts and feelings. your hand is your awareness. though uncomfortable, the pen feels "normal." Next, roll the pen on your palm. Notice the two are not attached to each other. You are not your thoughts and feelings. Now, turn your hand over and let go. Presto! The guy who invented this turned an expectation of imminent death into 42 more years of life (d. age 84).
-summary:thoughts and feelings aren't facts and aren't you. You can let them go.
-find your true essence, the happiness you were born with...(aren't most of us born unhappy?)
-while getting rid of your deadweight baggage (unhappy thoughts and feelings), so you can go beyond your mind.
7 hours ago