The Habits of Happy People, Marci Shimoff - Encywiki

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The Habits of Happy People, Marci Shimoff

The Habits of Happy People

People with high happiness set-points are human just like the rest of us. They don't have special powers, an extra heart, or X-ray vision. They just have different habits. It's that simple. Psychologists say that at least 90 percent of all behavior is habitual. So, to become happier, you need to look to your habits.
The Habits of Happy People, Marci Shimoff encywikiSome books and programs will tell you that you can simply decide to be happy. Just make up your mind to be happy, and you will be.
I don't agree.
You can't just decide to be happy, any more than you can decide to be fit or to be a great piano virtuoso and expect instant mastery. You can, however, decide to take the necessary steps, like exercising or taking piano lessons, and by practicing those skills, you can get in shape or give recitals. In the same way, you can become Happy for No Reason through practicing the habits of happy people.
All of your habitual thoughts and behaviors in the past have created specific neural pathways in the wiring in your brain, like grooves in a record. When we think or behave a certain way over and over,

the neural pathway is strengthened and the groove becomes deeper, in the way that a well-traveled route through a field eventually becomes a clear-cut path. Unhappy people tend to have more negative neural pathways. This is why you can't just ignore the realities of your brain's wiring and decide to be happy! To raise your happiness set-point, you have to create new grooves.
Scientists used to think that once a person reached adulthood, the brain was fairly well set in stone and there wasn't much you could do to change it. But new research is revealing exciting information about the brain's neuroplasticity: when you think, feel, and act in different ways, the brain changes and actually rewires itself. You aren't doomed to the same negative neural pathways for your whole life. Leading brain researcher Dr. Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin says, "Based on what we know of the plasticity of the brain, we can think of things like happiness and compassion as skills that are no different from learning to play a musical instrument or tennis ... it is possible to train our brains to be happy."
While a few of the Happy 100 I interviewed were born happy, most of them learned to be happy by practicing habits that supported their happiness.
According to the Dalai Lama, one of my happiness heroes (I can't help but smile when I think of him), it's important to know which habits support happiness in your life and which don't. In his book, The Art of Happiness, he writes:

One begins identifying those factors which lead to happiness and those factors which lead to suffering. Having done this, one then sets about gradually eliminating those factors which lead to suffering and cultivating those which lead to happiness. That is the way.
Throughout the book, I'll be identifying the factors that lead to happiness. But what are those "factors that lead to suffering and block our happiness? Two of these Happiness Blockers, the Myth of More and the Myth of I'll-Be-Happy-When, are so prevalent in our culture, they have almost everyone hooked.
The Habits of Happy People, Marci Shimoff Reviewed by encywiki on March 05, 2019 Rating: 5 The Habits of Happy People People with high happiness set-points are human just like the rest of us. They don't have special power...

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