Happiness stems from a state of mental calmness.
Contemplative practices such as mediation are hard to grasp. While most are rooted in spiritual traditions their value extends into our daily pursuits of decreased stress and mental well-being.
Why are some people so agitated? Are they happy inside, but just not showing it? Probably not. Why are other people, so calm regardless of the situation? Regardless of who is shouting, the emergency at hand-total peace surrounds them. Is this just luck or divine intervention? Maybe. But maybe it stretches further.
Having dedicated way more time, than any human should spend on this topic, I’ll offer a few insights.
When researching and studying happiness it won’t take long before you start to see patterns.
Meditators Think Differently
Long-term meditators have brains that are wired for positive emotions. I started meditating daily six years ago. It was a way for me to calm my mind before long intense 3-4 hour workouts, and link my relaxed mind to a relaxed body. A relaxed mind is physically different. You mean in terms of thinking right? Not just thinking I mean the physical matter in the brain changes.
“Davidson was placing 128 electrodes on the head of Matthieu Ricard, the French biochemist turned Buddhist monk close to the Dalai Lama. When Ricard was asked to meditate on unconditional loving kindness (also known as compassion meditation, a particular strand of Buddhist meditation), the brain scans showed unusually high gamma waves, which only arise with intensely focused thought at levels beyond the day-to-day experience of most people. (He was subsequently named the happiest man in the world).
When the above experiment was repeated with more meditators (8 monks with between 10,000 to 50,000 hours of meditative practice, and a control group of non-meditating university students), results were similar: not only did the monks produce 30 times more gamma waves than the control group, but much larger areas of their brains were activated during meditation, especially in the left prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for positive emotions (Bidushi, 2008).”
This link provides the actual brain scan images and is an interesting article, click HERE.
21 days to Innovation
Shawn Achor, 10 year professor at Harvard University has dedicated his life on studying people who are well above average-to understand where human potential, success and happiness intersect and they do intersect (bigthink.com, 2008). If we can retrain our brain to think differently about situations, to react more deliberately, more calmly does this impact innovation? If you write down 3 positive items a day, you’re thankful for, your mind changes. Not might change, it does in fact change. What if we applied this to the innovation process for our innovation teams?
When you pick up accountability for a new team, join a new organization or need to attempt something transformative, positive psychology can assist in your quest. Build a pattern of performance and a culture of innovation through positive reinforcement.
CIO100 Leaders think differently.
It’s an honor to be named to the CIOonline’s CIO100 List of transformative IT projects, find out who else made the list. Click HERE.
Thank you to everyone that made the 2015 CIO100 possible. You all know who you are, and you’re amazing. It was a privilege to digitize healthcare and transform the consumer experience and learn from you all.
Afsar, N. (2014). Everything is a dream. All dreams are real. Retrieved August 10, 2015, from http://nabeelafsar.com/
Bidushi. (2008). The link between happiness and meditation: overview of research Bidushi. Retrieved August 10, 2015, from http://bidushi.com/link-happiness-meditation/
bigthink.com. (2008). Reprogramming Your Brain to Be Happier. Retrieved August 10, 2015, from http://bigthink.com/videos/reprogramming-your-brain-to-be-happier