With my first workshop just over a day ago I want to share with you a section of what we discussed during the workshop and provide you with facts and my thoughts on why happiness absolutely is a choice. I don’t only believe that this is true, I know it is. It all has to do with how your brain works, which is super fascinating. So let’s have a look at how the brain works and how that affects us, but also how in turn we can affect our brain – that’s where your options lay!
Brain vs mind
Before we do I want to clarify the difference between the brain and the mind. Sometimes these terms are being used interchangeably however they’re definitely not the same. The brain is the actual part of the human body where all electronic pulses it receives are being processed. This organ coordinates your moves, your activities, including all bodily processes, and your impulses. Your mind is what you use to think, and it’s most commonly assumed that it’s residing in the brain, which to me is a whole other discussion. So for now I’d like you to remember that the mind is the manifestations of thought, perception, emotion, determination, memory and imagination that takes place within the brain.
How the brain works
The brain receives a gazillion amount of information to process. Just think about all the sounds, colours, forms, touches, smells you’re surrounded by each moment. And then we’re only considering our environment, not even the information we have to process like the things we read, the conversations we have, the notifications we get. It’s all there bombarding us each moment. To be exact; the brain receives 11 million pieces of information per second, however it can only process 40 bits per seconds. This is the super interesting bit; it has to make an extremely large cut in what it’s going to take in. And you know that too, you don’t hear every sound, or observe everything in a room or street. Thus, the brain has to be hugely selective.
With knowing that the brain has to be make a large cut in what information it can process, you can imagine that for each moment and for each person a tremendous amount of realities exists. So, it’s highly subjectable. It isn’t even physically possible to have the same observation of the same moment in time as a different person, but most likely if you were to relive the same moment you could very well perceive it differently. And we all have different viewpoints on life or expectations of situations or different memories of what’s in the past. This shapes how we select and process the information the brain receives each moment and ultimately shapes our reality.
Change your reality
This is the bit I love, as this is where you can make a difference, where your options lay. While previously psychologists understood that brain was completely developed and formed in our late teenage years, it’s now well proven that the brain is capable of making huge changes throughout your life time. This process is called neuroplasticity and is observed in for instance the increased spatial awareness in taxi drivers through their work, or the increased empathy in Buddhist monks through their meditation. Scientifically proven the brain is capable of changing the neurologic pathways and therefore the way it processes the outside world. Here is your opportunity for changing your reality! Happiness is a choice!
Train your brain
Now you know that change is possible, how can you create a more positive viewpoint on life? You can train the brain, just like you can train your body. And as for physical exercise there’s also a plenitude of options available for training your brain. The essential aspect is to bring awareness to the positive aspects in life by for instance the simple practice of writing down three new things you’re grateful for each day. Also, you can bring awareness to turning your brain into a noise-cancelling headphone so to speak. Try to block out things that disturb you or if unavoidable try to see them from a different perspective (seeing a problem like a challenge for instance, or failure like an opportunity to learn). And one of the most highly regarded practices for training your brain is meditation. I practice this every day and it’s definitely made me become more aware of the thoughts that arise in my mind and by then letting go of that thought it is no longer disturbing me, it isn’t another piece of information my brain is trying to process.
Again, I know this all sounds simple, and actually it is. But like I always say – simple, but not easy. It’s worth it, so why not try it out for yourself. And if you need some advice, so can always contact me, that’s what I’m here for.